Context: Comprehensive sports medicine care goes beyond the treatment of injuries resulting from athletic activities. Ultimately, it is a competence that includes knowledge in physical therapy, training, nutrition, coaching, motivation, competition, mentoring, psychology, and spirituality that allows the physician and patient to collaborate on promoting the patient’s health goals. The current literature demonstrates a lack of knowledge in the Osteopathic Primary Care Sports Medicine Model’s effectiveness in performance.
Objectives: To determine whether a comprehensive osteopathic primary care sports medicine approach can improve performance and health outcomes in collegiate athletes.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial commenced just prior to the start of the lacrosse season and concluded at the end of the season. All the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) collegiate lacrosse players were educated first in a 1-day seminar of the core competencies, and all participants had access to ask questions on their own volition. Then they were randomized into two groups, either the experimental group receiving the direct osteopathic primary care sports medicine intervention (n=18) or the control group not having active intervention (n=19). Also, the overall team winning percentage for that season was computed and compared to that for the previous years and the following year. Participants were assessed before and after the intervention with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36), custom Osteopathic Primary Care Sports Medicine questionnaire, and body fat composition, and their changes were compared between the experimental group and the control group. Collected data were analyzed using the repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Results: Thirty-seven participants were enrolled in the study. After 14 participants were excluded due to being lost to follow-up, 23 athlete records were analyzed. The winning percentage of the team was highest during the year of the study period time than in the 3 previous years and the following year. The test group did not have any statistically significant change in the PHQ-9, SF-36, custom Osteopathic Primary Care Sports Medicine questionnaire, as well as in body fat composition.
Conclusions: When used during a collegiate lacrosse season, this Osteopathic Primary Care Sports Medicine intervention did not significantly improve health outcomes. This preliminary study, despite its limitations in compliance and study population size, did demonstrate improvement in overall team performance when comparing the intervention sport season to other seasons but was not statistically significantly. Therefore, further studies are warranted to improve the understanding in this approach to athlete health outcomes and performance.