Physical therapists have the ability to become certified in different specialties. Sports therapy is one specialty that therapists can specialize in and offers a growing field that include many different physical therapy forms. This form of therapy includes treating sports injuries with proper therapy, using rehabilitative practices along with injury protection. For those considering a career as a sports therapist, here is a closer look at what this field has to offer.
What is Involved in Sports Therapy
Sports therapy requires targeted treatments to help athletes recover and rehabilitate from an injury. Therapists may provide assistance with stretching, evaluating the condition of an athlete before sporting events, protecting injuries and more. In many cases, these professionals also offer advice on proper diet, nutrition and exercise programs while working closely with sports coaches.
Professional therapists work with individuals who have sustained sports injuries, customizing treatments based on the specific needs of the patient. The main goal of rehabilitation is to help return the athlete to their original condition pre-injury. Common injuries rehabilitated by sports therapists include lower back, leg, foot, shoulder, ankle, elbow and knee injuries. Some of the rehabilitation treatments include strengthening exercises, reconditioning exercises, massage, compression wraps and more.
Working in sports therapy requires therapists to work very closely with doctors, such as the patients surgeon and physician. Therapists work closely with doctors to come up with a good plan for rehabilitation. These professionals are often on site during games and competitions as well, offering first aid when simple injuries occurs and deciding whether additional treatment is necessary. While much of their job includes treating current injuries and rehabilitation, their primary goal is to help athletes prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.
Education and Certification
To become a sports therapist, individuals must require physical therapy schools to get their physical therapist degree. After their original education, therapists have the ability to get specialty certificates, which come with strict requirements. To become certified in this specialty, therapists must show that they have extensive training or experience in this area. Most certificates will require the applicant to have emergency medicine training as well. While certification is required to practice sports therapy, currently a uniform standard of certification does not exist. However, the American Board of PT Specialties offers the most common certification in this specific field.
While sports therapy is a fairly small specialty within the PT realm today, it does offer a great opportunity to therapists who want to work with athletes. This field is growing and offers great potential in the future for those interested in specializing in a specific area of therapy. While salary amounts can vary, sports therapists typically enjoy a better than average salary in their field.