Specialist Headcount*
Median Age*
Advanced Trainee Headcount*
Average Weekly Work Hours*
Headcount Over 65 Years Old*
Part-time Advanced Trainees*
*WA figures sourced from NHWDS & MET

A sport and exercise physician has expertise in general medicine, orthopaedics, radiology and rehabilitation all associated with sports related conditions, injuries, trauma and illnesses. As a sport and exercise physician you will manage all patients, whether they are recreational athletes, manual workers or those with chronic diseases simply wanting to safely increase their activity levels. [i]

Sport and exercise medicine is a community-based career with most of the work done in private practice, for sporting teams or sporting organisations.

[i] SEM Physicians - Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (acsep.org.au)

What does a typical day look like for a sport and exercise physician?
What do you enjoy most about sport and exercise medicine?
Are there subspecialties within sport and exercise medicine?

As a sport and exercise physician you will generally have:
  • A strong interest in anatomy
  • Strong clinical skills, particularly clinical diagnostic skills
  • An interest in sports and related injuries and conditions
  • An interest in lifestyle factors contributing to injury and illness
  • An understanding of business
  • An interest in working as a sporting team doctor, which may involve weekend work and travel.
As a sport and exercise physician your days will be varied. There are four areas you are likely to be focused on:
  • Clinical - seeing and assessing patients
  • Administrative element because you’re running a business (your own private practice)
  • Involvement with a sporting team - this could include attending a training session, assessing post-match or going to a match
  • Research and education which isn’t just to your own registrars but can also be to other specialties such as general practitioners.
As a sport and exercise physician your clients will be very diverse. You will see people from various cultures and ages ranging from 5 to 90 years. You can’t perform this job on your own - you need the help of a good team around you. It’s like being part of a sporting team but in a medical context.

There aren’t currently sub-specialties within sport and exercise medicine so as a sport and exercise physician you will be a generalist and deal with the whole range of issues that are related to this specialty.

What do you wish you knew prior to commencing the training program?
What are some of the challenges of the training program?
Tips for getting into the sport and exercise medicine training program

Sport and exercise medicine training is undertaken with the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP). Before entry into the training program you need to pass the ACSEP entrance examination. You will then undertake four years of training followed by the part two exam at the end of your training. This final exam is a combination of clinical assessment and written assessment.

The aim of the training program is to train you to be skilled in a multi-disciplinary team to promote exercise and physical activity for health and to adapt its use safely in the management of chronic illness and disease.

As a trainee you will generally start in your third- or fourth-year post graduation. Trainees usually remain within their respective states and ACSEP will find you a training position. However, there’s encouragement for people to transfer interstate or to do part of their training internationally – for example at the Aspetar sports medicine institute in Qatar.

There aren’t currently any public health positions in WA. There may be some interstate but if they are they’re very limited.

There is a non-medical aspect to working as a sport and exercise physician so understanding how a business operates is very helpful because a lot of your time is spent in planning and running your business. More information can be found here.

What are some of the challenges of the training program?
Do you have flexibility to move as part of the training program?
Are there any training positions within WA Health?
Which PGY year do you usually get into sport and exercise medicine training?
Are there exams during the sports and exercise medicine training program?
Does the college help trainees identify rotations through private practice?
Overview of the sport and exercise medicine training program

The work of a sport and exercise physician is commonly done in private practice, or for a sporting organisation or sporting team. There are many varied and exciting career opportunities, and the ability to develop areas of interest. Many sports physicians have travelled with sporting teams to the Olympics, international sporting competitions and other significant sporting events. To get opportunities such as these, you will need to immerse yourself in the areas you’re interested in, build networks and create respect within the sports medicine community.

In the UK in 2018 there was a huge public health directive in terms of exercise for chronic health. Here in Australia we expect to see a similar government directive once COVID-19 settles.

N.B. Career prospects are dependent on both the supply of specialists and the projected future demand for services provided by medical specialists (including general practitioners). The complex interplay of supply and demand is currently being modelled at both a state and national level and will be included when it's available.

Is there predicted to be much growth in the sport and exercise medicine field?