Nailah Coleman, MD, FAAP, FACSM
Pediatric attending at Children’s National Health System
- What inspired you to pursue a career in sports medicine?
I have always wanted to be a pediatrician; however, after residency, when I had finally become a pediatrician, I was left wondering, “Now what?” Fortunately, I detoured into a position as an analyst in our IT department, which gave me exposure to the entire hospital’s systems, experience in the design and implementation of an EMR, and time to participate in hospital teaching sessions, including our weekly case conference. One day, while enjoying the lunch served at the conference—typically pizza—and listening to the expert physician, a pediatric sports physician, I instantly thought, “I want to do that!” I met with her later that week and applied for fellowships within the month.
I have since realized that there were many signs that I would have an interest in sports medicine. I played a variety of sports throughout my life and I continue to be an active adult. I was always interested in what happened to the injured athlete on the field, even as a little child, watching the team run out to help a downed athlete—it was usually the only part of the game I watched. I also enjoyed working in the Emergency Department and participating on the trauma surgery service in medical school. With sports medicine, I can combine my love of medicine with my interests in sports and exercise.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a sports medicine physician?
Most common question: Are you an orthopedist? Most common comment: People often say they never really thought of kids needing to see a sports physician.
- You have been an ACSM member since 2005. How has ACSM grown and changed since you
became a member?
ACSM has become an increasingly diverse organization and actively seeks to support its members needs and concerns.