Objective: To determine the general status of sports medicine training in internal medicine residency programmes in the United States.
Methods: A cross sectional survey of the programme directors and chief residents of each of the 407 accredited internal medicine programmes listed in the 1999–2000 Graduate Medical Education Directory.
Results: The questionnaire was returned by 231 of 404 (57%) programme directors and 233 of 404 (58%) chief residents. A chief and director of the same programme (paired responses) replied from 144 of 404 (36%) programmes surveyed. A formal sports medicine curriculum was reported by 22.1% of programme directors. Programmes with a formal curriculum were 2.9 times more likely to offer any of the sports medicine educational experiences (p<0.0001; Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel). Programmes with block rotations were more likely to include all of the educational experiences surveyed than those without (p<0.002 for each; χ2 test). A total of 162 programmes included sports medicine as part of other rotations. Most programmes only included sports medicine as part of other rotations: 44.6% (103/231) of all programmes and 63.6% (103/162) of programmes with sports medicine as part of other rotations. Some 29.9% (69/231) of directors reported having an elective, and 3.9% (9/231) reported a required rotation. Almost a quarter (21.7%; 50/231) of directors reported that their residents received no clinical experience in sports medicine.
Conclusions: Little attention is given to the subject of sports medicine when internal medicine residency curricula are developed in the United States. Thus only a small percentage of American internal medicine residency programmes provide significant training in sports medicine.