Sports therapists work with sport and exercise participants to help prevent injuries, recognise, manage and treat them should they occur, and then rehabilitate the participant back to full fitness.
Using the principles of sport and exercise science, they incorporate physiological and pathological processes to make sure participants are training and competing safely and provide an immediate response when sport and exercise related injuries occur.
More about Sports Therapy
Sports Therapy is an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability.
A Sports Therapist is a healthcare professional who has the knowledge, skills and ability to:
- utilise sports and exercise principles to optimise performance, preparation and injury prevention programmes
- provide the immediate care of injuries and basic life support in a recreational, training & competitive environment
- assess, treat and, where appropriate, refer on for specialist advice and intervention
- provide appropriate sport and remedial massage in a sport & exercise context
- plan and implement appropriate rehabilitation programmes
Society of Sports Therapists
The spectrum of expertise that a Member of The Society of Sports Therapists must possess is built within five key areas of competency related to injury and illness in the sport and exercise environment. These are:
- Recognition & evaluation
- Management, treatment & referral
- Education & professional practice issues
Within each of these areas Sports Therapists and specifically those at Graduate level, are trained and educated in principles that have sound practical and evidence based philosophies with solid sport and exercise science foundations.
Sports Therapists, are capable and proficient in applying the necessary rehabilitation principles, to enable their patients to achieve the optimum levels of recovery, that their injury or disability will allow. As such, the journey from injury to a return to activities can be facilitated by professionals who have the knowledge, skills and science based principles to meet the needs of a clearly defined patient group. More importantly, Sports Therapists are, and should be, an integral part of the Sports Medicine family, complementing and reinforcing the excellent skills and knowledge also being provided by colleagues and other professions.
Sports Therapy is a distinct occupational title that applies to a clearly defined scope of practice. Furthermore, since 1990, The Society of Sports Therapists has continually striven to ensure that its members are at the forefront of this rapidly increasing profession; academically, professionally, and practically.
The Society of Sports Therapists continues to ensure that both its Members and the profession are respected for the distinct scope of practice and science based foundations that are inherent and integral to Sports Therapists and Sports Therapy.
Some key responsibilities of sports therapists
A sports therapist may be involved in any or all of the following:
- conducting an assessment of the fitness level of players, athletes or participants and advising on exercises prior to an event or fixture;
- testing joints for ease and range of movement, pain and dysfunction;
- mentally and physically preparing players, athletes and participants before a competition and using strapping, taping and massage techniques where necessary;
- providing emergency aid in a sport and exercise environment;
- examining and assessing injuries and determining whether the athlete or participant can continue safely with the event or activity;
- treating and mobilising injuries to alleviate pain;
- rehabilitating injuries by using manual therapy techniques, apparatus and electrotherapy;
- designing and monitoring rehabilitation programmes appropriate to the injury and/or sport and level;
- deciding whether athletes, players or participants need extra treatments and coordinating referrals to other practitioners;
- advising players or athletes on diet and nutrition (when therapists are appropriately trained);
- working alone or with coaches, trainers and/or fitness advisers to implement exercise, conditioning, core stability and injury prevention programmes, so that athletes, players or participants reach and maintain peak performance;
- liaising with other healthcare professionals in the sports sector and in mainstream medicine.