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Sports Therapy 101 For Athletes

Having some of the most pressing questions answered is an important part of sports therapy. After all, it is something that is designed for optimal athletic performance, as well as an effective possible non-surgical pain management method that might help with a speedy recovery from a physical injury.

The Importance of Sports Therapy

Although it is true that mental fortitude is something that an athlete might count on, it is your body that you have to rely upon most when engaging in sports.  Sports therapy will come in handy whenever an athlete faces an obstruction, in particular in the form of pain or injury. Regardless of how much preparation or training an athlete has gone through, it amounts to nothing if something isn’t right with his or her body.

It’s Different From Sports Massage

Numerous athletes think that sports therapy and sports massage are one and the same mainly because both of them apply to those who engage in competitive sports. However, they could not be more wrong – sports therapy is an entirely different ball game from sports massage, although they share a few things in common.

Sports therapy is primarily geared towards treating problems that are related to sports, such as pain and various types of injuries and conditions. However, it is also designed to help an athlete excel through programs that are intended to improve performance and strength.

On the other hand, sports massage is focused more on relieving tightness and tension most especially after training or competition, as well as priming the muscles before an event to minimize risk of an athlete incurring an injury.

It is Also Different from Physical Therapy

While it’s a fact that there are a lot of things shared in common by sports therapy and physical therapy, the former might specialize in dealing with matters that concern athletes.

What is Physical Therapy?  You can think of physical therapy as a branch of medicine that focuses in on the restoration, preservation and enhancement of movement and physical functioning of individuals who are either impaired or threatened by an injury, disability or disease.  It might do so with the use of patient education, assistive devices, rehabilitative exercises, therapeutic massages, electrotherapy and so many others.

Sports therapy might also utilize some of the above mentioned tools. However, it centers more on the specific needs of athletes for improved performance, injury prevention and, more importantly, recovery from an injury or condition.  See the Sports and Rehabilitation Therapy program at Fremont College to get a better idea of some of the possible jobs and duties that someone in this profession might expect.

A Qualified Person Provides Sports Therapy

Just like physical therapy, sports therapy is something that is provided or carried out by a highly qualified individual. The truth is that a sports therapist is just like a physical therapist in some ways — they might share some of the same educational background.

Sports Therapy Helps Prime an Athlete

Contrary to popular belief, sports therapy is not only appropriate or beneficial for an injured athlete who is experiencing some type of pain or restriction in movement, but also one who wants to excel and avoid problems.

Prior to training or competing, the muscles, ligaments and joints have to be prepared for the grueling challenges lying ahead. Without enough preparation, an athlete could be at higher risk of ending up with an injury, which is something that can be detrimental to anyone who engages in sports.

A sports therapist is able to provide therapeutic massages that warm up and stretch the muscles, as well as improve the range of motion of the joints. The same massages may also be provided to an athlete who has an injured body part and thus requires pain management and non-surgical accelerated healing.

It could also be one of the many duties of a sports therapist to design and implement programs that can help an athlete perform optimally, such as by means of exercises that mimic body movements while an athlete is on the field.

Providing Rehabilitation

One of the numerous duties of a sports therapist could be to assess, as well as treat, physical injuries of an athlete. If necessary, he or she will refer the individual to a doctor who is best suited for treating the problem involved. In emergency cases, a sports therapist might provide basic life support if qualified and if permitted to do so by law.

A sports therapist should strive to gain the knowledge and skill set required to design rehabilitative programs according to the injury sustained or pain being experienced.

Weaknesses can be Identified and Tackled

Here’s another very good reason why an athlete like you can benefit from seeing a sports therapist even though you currently do not have an injury, pain or restricted movement: the professional is someone who can identify your weaknesses that are limiting you and keeping you from attaining the athletic status of your dreams.

Some of the most serious athletes out there rely on their respective sports therapist to have their shortcomings pointed out, which then enables them to know some of the best ways to make improvements.

IN CONCLUSION: Hopefully, the above has provided answers to some of the questions running through your mind that pertain to sports therapy.  If you feel that a career in sports therapy is right for you, let one of our career coaches’ help.

Before practicing any modalities or techniques, check with your state’s massage therapy regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope and standards of practice for massage therapy.