Sports therapy is a healthcare aspect that is particularly concerned with the treatment and prevention of injuries and the patient’s rehabilitation back to the best level of occupational, functional, and sports-related fitness, irrespective of age and capability. Like graduate professions, sports therapy is rapidly emerging, working with exercise and sports participants to prevent injuries, recognize and treat them.
The most frequently asked question in the past was “what is a sports therapist?’” Even now this confusion sometimes causes the problem. So for the clarification, a sports professional is also a healthcare specialist who possess the skills, knowledge, and ability to rehabilitate the participants to bring them back to the full fitness. Sports therapist use the principles of sports and exercise science and incorporate pathological and physiological processes to ensure that participants are training safely and provide an instantaneous response whenever some exercise or sport related injury occurs. Some therapists work in this field with other roles related to sports.
There are five main areas of illness and injury related competency in exercise and sports environment in which the sports therapist’s spectrum of expertise is built. These include:
In all these areas, sports therapist especially those at the graduate level, are educated and trained in the principles that have comprehensive evidence and practically based philosophies with the strong foundations of exercise and sports science. Sports therapists are required to clearly meet the competency levels defined which are defined to cover the scope of the above-mentioned areas and possess skills, knowledge, and ability to the continuum of sports and exercise at all levels.
But most importantly this therapy of sport and exercise is not about the sports massage only but massage skills are essential part of the practice which they must possess. Secondly, they are not the physiotherapist, but physiotherapy skills are applied by sports therapist because it is actually the treatment of injury, deformity, or disease by using physical methods including heat treatment, exercise, and massage rather than surgery or drugs.
Also, they are sometimes labeled as first aiders, but they, in fact, the first responders having the knowledge, training, expertise, and skills to provide instance care. Thus, sports, therapist practice many modalities and skills that are counted but in the perspective of sports and exercise rather than the traditional healthcare perspective. If some health issues or injuries go beyond the practice scope of sports therapist, the patients should refer to the appropriate healthcare expert. For example, some pains are treated by the chiropractors instead of sports therapist because the approach chiropractors take is different from the sports therapist.
To enable the patients to get back the finest recovery level, understand of sports and therapeutic abilities of sports therapist must be proficient to apply the required rehabilitation principles. The journey of recovery by itself should be provided by the professionals who have the skills and knowledge to meet the requirements of the definite patient group. Moreover, sports therapist should be the part of sports medicine family, reinforcing and complementing the excellent knowledge and skills.