Sports therapists work with a range of different personnel, from people who train at high levels to people who play recreational sports. They can advise on how to train and how to do it safely, treat injuries that occur within sport or day-to-day life and help within the rehabilitation process. They can either be clinic of sports team based and in some cases, both!
Sports therapists who work at a clinic:
- See clients who have injured themselves during playing sport or in work.
- Assess and analyse the sustained injury and find out more information by talking to the patient about how it the injury occurred.
- Able to use a variety of treatment methods such as massage, mobilisations and electrotherapy, as well as applying taping.
- Design a rehabilitation programme for clients, which can include an exercise programme to return the normal range of movement and function of the client, further progressing to strengthening.
Sports therapists who work for a sports club:
- Preparation for a game, aid the coaching staff in testing a player's fitness levels, more notably when the player is returning from injury.
- Stay by the side of the pitch during the match offering first aid if anyone is injured.
- Post- game treat players who sustained injuries during their game.
- Work within the multi-disciplinary team to confer with other professionals.
- Are usually part of a larger team that includes coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and sports scientists.
- All sports therapists keep secure records of treatments and how the client is progressing.
Sports therapy is a new career path within sports science sector. The difference in comparison to physiotherapy is that there is a greater emphasis on sports science during training and sports therapists focus on musculoskeletal injuries and carry out first aid.
Sports therapists work within treatment rooms which will include a couch for patients and specialist rehabilitations equipment for exercises. They can spend a long period of time standing and providing sports massage and manipulation, which can become very tiring.
Sports therapists can work within sports injury clinics, health clubs and leisure centres, or for and sports clubs, both for professional and amateur practices.
To enter this career route can be very competitive, but as the government are placing huge emphasis on exercise and well-being, there will always be a need for healthcare professionals who aid clients through their injuries and give advice on training.
The spectrum of expertise that a sports therapist can must possess is built upon five factors of competency related to both injury and illness in a sporting and exercise environment. The 5 factors are: prevention, recognition and evaluation, management, treatment and referral, rehabilitation and education and professional practice issues. When training to be a sports therapist, they will undergo all of these key principles and ensure they can provide them competently.