Sports Medicine Physician Salaries: 4 Points on National Averages

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |
Sports medicine is the third most popular subspecialty area among orthopedic surgeons, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2010 Orthopaedic Surgeon Census. Approximately 38 percent of orthopedic surgeons reported focusing on sports medicine, with 39 percent reporting their focus as arthroscopy. supports the trend toward orthopedic surgeons identifying as sports medicine specialists, with 41 percent of their respondents indicating sports medicine as their subspecialty. The only higher mentions were arthroscopy and adult knee, with 47 and 49 percent of respondents, respectively.
1. Starting salaries for sports medicine physicians. The median salary for sports medicine physicians is reported as $241,749 by, but there are several factors that could raise or lower this number. Surgical sports medicine physicians receive higher compensation on average than non-surgical sports medicine physicians, which is the major difference in compensation between sports medicine specialists. Experience, employment setting and practice location all have an impact on the level of compensation sports medicine physicians receive.

2. First hospital employment contract. For sports medicine physicians who sign hospital employment contracts, the average beginning salary is $565,000 with a sigh-on bonus of $60,000, according to the "2011 Orthopedic Recruiting Trends & Starting Salary Overview" from Orthopedic Recruiting Group. Additionally, the survey found sports medicine physicians receive five weeks of vacation, two weeks of continuing medical education/paid time off and $10,000 relocation compensation with their first hospital contracts.

3. Average salaries for surgical and non-surgical sports medicine physicians.
According to, starting salaries for non-surgical sports medicine physicians is $158,000 on average, more similar to primary care starting salaries than those of orthopedic surgeons. However, orthopedic surgeons subspecializing in sports medicine have the potential to make $266,000 right out of training. After a few years in practice, primary care sports medicine physicians often receive around $200,000, but orthopedic sports medicine physicians often see their salaries jump to around $479,000.

A MedSource Consultants survey reports sports average sports medicine physician compensation at $160,359, while orthopedic surgeons reach an average of $364,964 or more. On the high end of the pay scale, sports medicine physicians report receiving $223,130 while the highest compensated orthopedic surgeons received $665,000.

4. Salaries by location in the United States. By state, sports medicine physician compensation varies greatly. A report from SalaryExpert shows that sports medicine physicians in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta were on the high end of the spectrum, reporting salaries of nearly $300,000 on average. Other locations — such as Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Dallas — report salaries of $200,000 to $250,000. On the lower end, sports medicine physicians in Chicago and Manhattan reported average salaries of slightly less than $200,000.

More Articles on Sports Medicine:

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Why to Consider Partial Knee Replacements: Q&A With Dr. Craig Della Valle of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

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