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Sport & Recreation careers

Medical & Physical Therapy Staff

Why are medical & physical therapy staff so important?

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to suffer a sports-related injury, you may have been to see a physiotherapist. These guys are amazing, aren’t they?! Just ask Darren Anderton.

It’s their job to help athletes recover from sports-related injuries, mainly through the use of exercise and physical techniques.

So just when you thought your career for your Sunday league team, Borussia Munchenflapjack, was all over, Mr Physio stepped up and sorted you right out. A quick diagnosis, some stretching, an hour of gentle jogging… and you’re back in business.

From grass-roots to international sport, physios and medical staff are responsible for keeping athletes in the best possible physical shape. If you work hard and get as much experience as you can, you never know where your job could take you. You could travel the world, attend some of the world’s best sporting events and work with some of the world’s biggest stars.

What do medical & physical therapy involve?

You always read about sports stars who say they wouldn’t have played as long as they did without the advice of their physio along the way. Every sportsperson needs specialist medical help at some point, especially when they’re playing at the very top level. You could be the difference between someone having a short career and a long life in sport. Who’s to say that Ryan Giggs or Martina Navratilova would have had such illustrious careers without the medical and physical expertise behind them?

There’s no ‘typical’ day for the medical and physical therapy teams that focus on sports injuries. Essentially, these guys will assess the magnitude of sportspeople’s physical problems and injuries. They’ll then sort them out with a treatment and rehabilitation programme, which will hopefully allow them to get back on the court/pitch/track as soon as possible.

Sports physiotherapists and medical teams can treat athlete’s ailments in all kinds of ways. They might use hands-on methods like massage and taping damaged ligaments and muscles. Alternatively, they might use more hi-tech methods like hydrotherapy and acupuncture. One of the best ways to improve the progress of an athlete’s rehabilitation is to gradually introduce restorative exercises that rebuild strength in muscles and bones and boost mobility in the injured limbs.

The permanent medical and physical therapy staff that work for professional sports clubs are the ‘go-to guys’ for the patients in their care. A lot of people working in this sector are able to build up long-term relationships with their patients. They’re the superheroes that advise sportspeople on how to prolong their careers and what they can do to push their body to the limit without causing any permanent damage.

How do I become a physiotherapist?

To become a chartered sports physiotherapist, you’ll need to get a physiotherapy degree and become a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. On top of this, there are certain skills that you’ll be required to bring to the table.

For instance, a lot of the people you work with will be angry or depressed at having to miss out on playing the sport they love because of the injury they have sustained. Therefore, it’s important that when you treat your patients, you strike a balance between being positive and realistic.

To break into these competitive careers, it’s a good idea to try and get some work experience first. You could get involved with volunteer work from an early age. Make a list of all your local sports clubs. Contact them and see if you can help out. You could approach all kinds of organisations, anything from your local rugby or football club to your university sports teams. Any extra experience will demonstrate your enthusiasm and may even put you head and shoulders above the other people that will be going for the same roles as you.

While you might not be rubbing your hands together to channel some sort of instant healing touch in the style of Mr Miyagi, you will make a huge difference to all kinds of people, and ensure the livelihood of many sportspeople. You might even get to meet some celebrities along the way!