Unless you’re an athlete or are close to someone who is, you may not be all that familiar with sports physiotherapy. It isn’t an occupation with which most people have a great deal of personal experience, after all. This article will provide an overview of his very interesting and wide-reaching career field and will outline some of the many things sports physiotherapists actually do.
The Collins English Dictionary (Second Edition) defines physiotherapy as “the treatment of disease or injury by physical means, such as massage or exercises, rather than by drugs [physio- (prefix) physical + therapy]. Thus, sports physiotherapy refers to the treatment of sports injuries by physical means.
That’s a good working definition, but it really only scratches the surface of what sports physiotherapy is really all about. It is true that athletes will consult with physiotherapists about injuries and that they may receive treatment as directed by the physiotherapist as part of their rehabilitation.
Rehabbing sports injuries, though, doesn’t represent the whole of the practice. Many in the field focus their interests on the development of equipment to protect injured athletes from aggravating the circumstances and on the creation of equipment designed to actually improve the rehabilitation process. Sports physiotherapists aren’t just doling out massages to uncomfortable athletes in the locker room, they’re often on the cutting edge of medical improvement.
Working on the development of equipment designed to assist the injured in their recovery isn’t the only non-therapeutic role performed by professionals in the field of sports physiotherapy. Some practitioners focus their attention on creating equipment and protective gear designed to ward off injuries in the first place. You can find physiotherapists involved in the design and testing of new helmets, guards and braces designed to protect athletes from injury.
As you can tell, the field really is wider than the strict dictionary definition would suggest. While treatment of injuries remains at the core of sports physiotherapy, the subject area also encompasses the research and development of equipment used in injury rehabilitation and the of the gear intended to reduce injuries in the first place. This completes the physiotherapy circle, making physiotherapists involved in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of sports-related problems.
This is an area of study and a profession worthy of serious consideration for those with a strong academic interest in biology and related sciences. Sports physiotherapists are in high demand as more and more people make athletics and exercise a regular part of their lives. With the aging baby boomer population remaining more active than previous groups of senior citizens, the likelihood of continued high demand for subject area experts should remain quite high for some time to come. Sports physiotherapy appears to be a wise vocational choice for those with a strong interest in sports and/or medicine.