Since its inception 22 years ago, The Society of Sports Therapists is frequently asked, ‘What is a sports therapist?’ Even now there is confusion which, not only causes problems, but in many instances misunderstanding about the knowledge and skills that this specific occupational group possess.
Therefore for clarification - A Sports Therapist is a healthcare professional who has the knowledge, skills and ability to:
utilise sports and exercise principles to optimise performance, preparation and injury prevention programmes
provide the immediate care of injuries and basic life support in a recreational, training & competitive environment
assess, treat and, where appropriate, refer on for specialist advice and intervention.
provide appropriate sport and remedial massage in a sport & exercise context
plan and implement appropriate rehabilitation programmes
The spectrum of expertise that a Member of The Society of Sports Therapists must possess is built within five key areas of competency related to injury and illness in the sport and exercise environment. These are:
Recognition & evaluation
Management, treatment & referral
Education & professional practice issues
Within each of these areas Sports Therapists and specifically those at Graduate level, are trained and educated in principles that have sound practical and evidence based philosophies with solid sport and exercise science foundations.
As such, Sports Therapists who are Members of The Society of Sports Therapists are required to meet clearly defined competency levels which cover the breadth of the above areas and gives them the knowledge, skills and ability to work at all levels of the sport and exercise continuum.
Sport and Exercise Therapy is not just about Sports Massage. However, Sports Therapists will possess massage skills that are an integral part of their scope of practice.
Sports Therapists are not Physiotherapists, but Sports Therapists will apply “physiotherapy” skills because physiotherapy is defined as “the treatment of disease, injury or deformity by physical methods including massage, heat treatment, electricity and exercise, rather than drugs or surgery”
Consequently, Sports Therapists will apply many skills and modalities that are included within this list but in a sport and exercise perspective rather than a traditional healthcare context.