When most people think of sports medicine, they imagine a doctor on the sidelines of a game checking up on an injured athlete. Typically, these games are popular, organized sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer.

Often overlooked are extreme or alternative sports, such as BMX, skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding since these sports aren’t considered “mainstream” or aren’t as commercially promoted as the “traditional four sports”. Because of this, not as many physicians who go into the sports medicine field are trained beyond the injuries that can occur in traditional sports injuries, which are entirely different than extreme sports injuries.

Due to this lack of representation in the sports medicine industry, Joshua Snodgrass, M.D., CAQSM, teaches physicians about caring for extreme sports athletes as well as organized sports athletes through the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. Currently, the Sports Medicine fellowship is the only program in the entire country that focuses on alternative sports, as well as all traditional sports.

Dr. Snodgrass’s medical journey is different from the typical physician. Dr. Snodgrass grew up skateboarding and surfing, and was surrounded by cars, bikes, and other action sports. Growing up around extreme sports showed Dr. Snodgrass how underserved these athletes were, since their sports weren’t socially acceptable, and helped guide him towards the sports medicine fellowship at Long Beach Medical Center.

“Many sports medicine specialists don’t typically work with extreme sports due to their lack of exposure to them,” says Joshua Snodgrass, M.D., CAQSM, program director, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. “I try to teach our program fellows that the key to sports medicine is adaptability, and the best way to learn that is through extreme sports since those injuries aren’t typical like the ones seen in collegiate sports such as basketball or football.”

The Sports Medicine Fellowship teaches primary care physicians to work with a team in a dynamic environment, gaining experience from working with a Division 1 university, the action sports industry, and the local community’s high school teams.

Currently, the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship provides its services to Cabrillo High School football, Long Beach State University and Cypress College Athletics, the Vans Pool Party, the Sean White Air and Style competition, and the SoCalDirt.org High School Mountain Biking League.