First Year Trainee Headcount*
Advanced Trainee Headcount*
New College Fellow Headcount*
Specialist Headcount*
Median Age*
Headcount Over 65 Years Old*
*WA figures sourced from NHWDS & MET

A sport and exercise physician has expertise in general medicine, orthopaedics, radiology and rehabilitation all associated with sport and exercise related conditions, injuries, trauma and illnesses. The work can be incredibly varied, including clinical work, policy development, research, team and sports coverage and project work. 

In clinical practice, patients vary from 5-99 years old; those embarking on exercise to improve overall health specific conditions or improving chronic conditions; recreational, weekend warrior, elite or professional athletes; manual workers or those with chronic diseases simply wanting to safely increase their activity levels

Sport and exercise physicians work in private practice or in sporting organisations in Western Australia. Registrars are placed in private practice for their minimum four year training program. In other states, there are a small number of posts based in Public Hospitals. Part of the training program involves working with sporting teams, events and organisations to provide care to athletes in their training and competition environments. 

Sport and Exercise Physicians may be employed by professional and sporting organisations, government and other entities to assist with policy development, management and care of those involved in organisations. This may include anti-doping, concussion, health prevention as examples. 

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

As a sport and exercise physician you will generally have:

  • A strong interest in sport and exercise as it relates to the optimisation of health, acute and chronic illness and injury
  • Strong clinical skills, particularly clinical diagnostic skills with an interest in musculoskeletal anatomy
  • An interest in sports and related injuries and conditions
  • An interest in lifestyle factors contributing to injury and illness
  • An interest in working in solo or group private practice
  • An interest in working as a sporting team doctor, which may involve weekend work and travel
  • Interest in diagnostic imaging and injection interventions
  • Strong collaborative skills and ability to work with a multidisciplinary team

As a sport and exercise physician your days will be varied. The main 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
  • Working with allied health and other Medical professionals to optimise patient care

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. There are however sport and exercise physicians that perform injections and use ultrasound machines, others that focus on policy and those that focus on specific demographics such as women and girls,  those with osteoarthritis, or a specific sport. 

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. The program is Trans-Tasman, with a limited number of placements offered each year. It is highly competitive, with on average 12-15 places being awarded per annum. Applicants can apply after PGY3+. Once the entrance examination has been successfully passed, you can submit an application to the training program, along with CV. Applicants will be assessed and interviews awarded in September each year. Places are awarded based primarily on Interview and a small percentage of CV marks. Successful applicants commence a training program that takes a minimum of four years.

Training is based in private practice, with two years in any one training post. Due to the competitive nature of the program, it is highly likely you will be offered a place outside of your home state. Four years of training is made up of a combination of clinic work, sports team and event coverage and overseas tram team travel. There is a research requirement, weekly registrar tutorials and a focus on self directed learning including working through specific education modules. Work based assessments take place regularly and include interventions, case based discussions and Mini-CEX. Once all requirements have been met  Part Two exams are the exit to your training. This is a written examination followed by clinical OSCE and Viva examination at the end of your training. 

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 diagnosis, investigation and management of acute and chronic illness and injury and chronic disease.

As you will be working in private practice and contracting to other organisations,  work is usually not salaried and billed through invoicing. 

As a sport and exercise physician your work can follow many and varied paths. 

Private practice provides a significant portion of most sport and exercise physicians day to day work. There are a large number of processional and semi-professional sporting organisations that require full or near full time sport and exercise physician workloads. There is a huge range of organisations that require input from sport and exercise physicians, which may be work from home, part-time and flexible work load.

It is possible to work 9-5 hours, weekends and evenings only and also to work part-time. The work is very well suited to those seeking flexible working hours, including those with families.