What is a Sports Rehabilitation Therapist?

Today’s sports rehabilitation therapist provides a vital link between the athlete and the field in which they prefer to play but perhaps cannot due to illness or injury. What exactly does this professional do in this context, and how does someone become one? Read on for details on the career of today’s sports rehabilitation therapist.

General Job Description, Duties

In nearly every sense, sports rehabilitation therapists, or SRTs for short, act in much the same capacity as a physical therapist. This means that they work with injured clients to help them regain solid use of their injured body parts or systems. The main difference in the work of a physical therapist and that of an SRT lies in the SRT’s specific utilization where it comes to sports injuries and helping athletes, in particular, to get back on the field after injury.

So, what does a typical day look like for this type of worker? SRTs typically treat a number of patients each day, with each patient’s treatment taking shape through a process of case management and physical treatment. Essentially, the patient comes in to see the SRT, the SRT assesses their current condition, works with them physically and accordingly, and then sets in place a plan for the continued handling of that patient and their injury at future visits. At the actual times of treatment, a wide variety of physical interactions are facilitated by the SRT that help the patient to regain stability, strength, range of motion, and more.

Necessary Knowledge, Education

As this line of work deals heavily in human physiology, the requirements for becoming an SRT also deal heavily in that line of academia. To become an SRT, most employers and states require the candidate to present with a graduate degree as well as with some residency experience. There is variation in the degree accepted here, as a degree in physiology, kinesiology, or biology will each typically open this career door. Some states do, however, require additional certification in order for one to legally work as an SRT.

Employment Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is often a great resource to utilize in becoming more familiar with a particular job, and although the bureau doesn’t specifically list the role of the SRT, it does provide some helpful info via its coverage of the very similar roles of the physical therapist and the exercise physiologist. Per the BLS, physical therapists average a very healthy median pay rate of about $42.27 per hour while enjoying an industry-wide growth in demand of 22 percent. Likewise, the BLS cites exercise physiologists as earning a median pay of about $49,270 per year while seeing a 10 percent uptick in industry demand. Both of these positions are highly similar to that of the SRT, and with these positive numbers, SRTs can assume similar figures.

Related Resource: 15 Most Affordable Online Sport Psychology Programs

For anyone looking for a career involving helping other people to heal and overcome injury and adversity alike, the job of the SRT offers just that opportunity. This is a medical profession, so one can expect some upper-level schooling in order to eventually land this job. For more information on the role of today’s sports rehabilitation therapist and the qualifications asked of them in your specific state, it is recommended that you contact your state’s medical board.