Trends in Sports Medicine

By Maria Shepherd, President and Founder, Medi-Vantage | November 22, 2016

Value-based care and hospital consolidation are having an impact on the practice of medicine. However, it is important to recognize that sports medicine surgeons are still some of the most highly paid in the U.S. Family medicine physicians on average earn $229,607 annually, even though for the past decade, family medicine has been the most in demand medical specialty for recruitment.1

Overall compensation for sports medicine surgeons is reported to be approximately $600,0002 (Chart 1), on par with most other orthopedic subspecialists. Sports medicine surgeons receive incomes substantially higher than their peers in cardiology, oncology, and anesthesiology.3

Why This Is Important
Sports medicine is an important market segment for orthopedic companies. The worldwide market for sports medicine medical devices is expected to increase at a CAGR of 4.4 percent through 2019 when it is expected to reach $8.3 billion.4 By 2024, it is expected to increase to $11.6 billion5 (Chart 2).
One key driver of this market are sports injuries in the growing segment of the population that participate in sports, in part due to the influence of fitness product and apparel promotion. (Who says advertising doesn’t work?) Government statistics6 indicate that in 2012, approximately 1.9 million people were treated for sports-related injuries.

Although the trend for hospital employment of surgeons has been pronounced, sports medicine surgeons, like their orthopedic and spine surgeon peers, show a desire to remain independent. According to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons census data, 15 percent of orthopedic surgeons are in single private practice, 35 percent report they are in a private practice orthopedic group, and 10 percent are in a private multispecialty group. Another 15 percent report earning a salary from a hospital.7

In 2012, arthroscopy devices, the key tool in the armamentarium of sports medicine surgeons, were estimated at revenues of 1.59 billion.8 At an estimated CAGR of 5.8 percent, this market is expected to reach $2.35 billion by 2019 (Chart 3).

Investing in Innovation for Sports Medicine Makes Sense
Sports medicine surgeons enjoy lucrative, growing practices driven by behavioral change in the general population. It is no wonder they choose to remain independent (and maintain control over the devices they use). Investing in medtech for sports medicine surgeons remains one of the few markets where physician choice remains a significant influencer of the type of device used. 

1 Merritt Hawkins “2014 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives”
3 Medscape 2014 Physician Compensation Report
6 2012, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)

Maria Shepherd has more than 20 years of leadership experience in medical device/life-science marketing in small startups and top-tier companies. After her industry career, including her role as vice president of marketing for Oridion Medical where she boosted the company valuation prior to its acquisition by Covidien/Medtronic, director of marketing for Philips Medical and senior management roles at Boston Scientific Corp., she founded Data Decision Group, now re-branded as Medi-Vantage. Medi-Vantage provides marketing and business strategy and innovation research for the medical device industry. The firm quantitatively and qualitatively sizes and segments opportunities, evaluates new technologies, provides marketing services and assesses prospective acquisitions. Shepherd has taught marketing and product development courses, is a member of the Aligo Medtech Investment Committee ( She can be reached at 855-343-3100, ext. 102 or at mshepherd@medi-vantage. Visit her website at

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