How to Find a Doctor (for Athletes)

I’ve received a couple questions this past week about “how to find a doctor.” In my area. One who understands athletes. One who will take me seriously. And so forth.
I’ve said on many occasions that adult athletes would be well served by having a primary care physician–one that they could visit annually for a physical examination and then rely upon when health issues arise. Some ideal charateristics of that doctor might be:
1. Located in your community or not too far away.
2. An athlete himself or herself….or at least “athlete-friendly” and “athlete-knowledgable.”
3. Accessible….at the office, but also potentially by phone or email.
4. A good listener.
5. Responsive to your needs.
6. Understandable, especially when explaining medical issues to you.
7. Familiar with medical specialists in your community, if their services are needed.
But how do you find that person? Here are some suggestions:
1. Ask you athlete friends who they see (and like). This is your best bet. Find a fellow cyclist or runner who happens to be a physician….and ask him/her who they’d recommend.
2. If you’ve seen some sort of healthcare professional recently, such as a physical therapist, chiropracter, or orthopedic surgeon, ask who they might recommend.
3. Call your local medical society and ask for a recommendation. Explain what you’re looking for. They should be able to help.
4. If you live near a medical school, call the school’s sports medicine department and ask who they might recommend.
Those are my best ideas. Maybe the readers can offer some other suggestions. If so, please leave a comment below.
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