A sports therapist can work in many areas. She can treat and advise individual athletes or work for teams. Since a therapist's job is to help prevent injuries and to help with the rehabilitation of those who are injured, sports therapists often work in sports injury clinics or with sports clubs. A top-notch sports physical therapist can make up to $93,000 per year in New York State or Mississippi, the top-paying states for sports therapy, according to Salary by State.
Specializing in Assessment and Training
A sports therapist can work hand in hand with a trainer or, if knowledgeable about the sport, may work as a trainer to help amateur or professional athletes while they train and prepare. A sports therapist may specialize in giving athletes training advice before a big event like a marathon or before a sport's season starts. Before athletes hit the field, a sports therapist assesses their readiness. This can include advising the athlete on proper warmup exercises, training safely, preparation and competing safely. Sports therapists are trained to test joints to assess if the athlete has a full range of motion and ease of movement. He may be employed as a sports masseur to help players get ready to go on the field or relax post game.
Working During Games and Events
A sports therapist may specialize in working onsite during major events or sports games, employed by event organizers or by amateur or professional sports teams. She can help strap players into their gear properly, massage aches or muscle cramps that can interfere with performance, or help players and athletes get into the game mentally. If there's an emergency, a sports therapist working onsite will be expected to help respond with emergency aid. She should be able to assess the seriousness of injuries to help determine whether a player can keep playing. In addition to treating injuries, a sports therapist who works at events and games should be prepared to help alleviate pain, immobilize injuries to move a player off of the field and participate in other emergency measures.
Rehabilitation Sports Therapy
Sports therapists who focus on rehabilitation usually work for sports injury clinics or hospitals. They need to be familiar with both manual therapy techniques and current electrotherapy equipment and other rehabilitation devices. Working with an athlete throughout his rehabilitation, a sports therapist will need to design the patient's program and monitor the treatment. If the player or athlete needs extra treatment that the sports therapist can't provide, the therapist will need to refer his patient to the correct practitioner.
General Advice and Health
Although sports therapists focus on musculoskeletal conditions related to sports and exercise, they may still work as consultants for general health advice for athletes. A sports therapist interested in this type of work may want to consider working for a health club, gym or a sports center. With an appropriate background in nutrition, a sports therapist may advise her clients about their diets and nutrition in an effort to help them reach their peak performance. The sports therapist normally offers this advice along with exercise, conditioning, core stability and injury prevention advice to enhance the athlete's overall condition.
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