The elements of sports medicine, simplified.
The first three Ps are the most important - the "Primary Ps," if you will.
1. PERFORMER - everyone who exercises.
Everyone who is physically active during their leisure time or their employment qualifies as a
2. PERFORMANCE - the form of exercise and its demands on the individual.
Every form of physical activity places some stresses on the individual. These stresses are dictated
by the level of participation and the condition of the performer.
3. PATHOLOGY - an underlying physical condition, weakness or injury.
Pathology is ubiquitous in the world of sports and athletes. Few individuals are free from some
acute or chronic condition, physical impairment, body asymmetry or residual muscle
weakness which is likely to impact their performance.
4. PRESCRIPTION - who should play what sports, for what duration, with what intensity and how
Exercise is medicine and like any medicine dosage is an important consideration. The goal of
prescription is to optimize the positive aspects of physical activity while at the same time
eliminating the likelihood of injury.
5. PRACTITIONER - the physician, coach, trainer, therapist, teacher, parent or other advisor to the
Anyone who advises on how to exercise is a practitioner. This is an area which is often poorly
regulated and one which relies heavily on the good graces of those who consider
6. PRACTICE - the act of acquiring speed, skill and endurance for enjoyment of recreational activity
and optimal performance for competitive sport.
To reap the greatest rewards from sport, repetition of patterned movements, acquisition of new
skills, conditioning of muscles and the cardiopulmonary system are all necessary components.
7. PREVENTION - avoidance of injury or illness by careful attention to the prior 6 P's.
Many people exercise to help prevent diseases associated with modern societies and physical
inactivity. In doing so, care must be taken to prevent injury. Similarly, all people who exercise
should be made aware of ways of preventing injury. Often, common sense and attention to how
your body feels are the keys to prevention.