Sports Medicine Job Description

An orthopedic surgeon

Sports medicine therapists are physical therapists who specialize in the treatment and rehabilitation of sport and athletic injuries. These therapists typically have completed graduate-level education in treating and rehabilitating injured athletes. Sports medicine therapists are state-licensed professionals and generally work in clinics, hospitals, or other health care institutions.

Required Education Master's degree in sports medicine, physical therapy, or athletic training
Certification/Licensure Mandatory physical therapy licensure, optional Sports Therapy Certification through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 36% for all physical therapists*
Average Annual Salary (2013) $82, 180 for all physical therapists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sports medicine therapy is a discipline within the health and rehabilitation sciences. Sports medicine therapists are trained in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, exercise science, and rehabilitative techniques as they relate to athletics.

Job Duties of a Sports Medicine Therapist

Sports medicine therapists work with athletes and physicians to develop rehabilitation plans. They then work one-on-one with the athlete, executing and overseeing therapeutic techniques and ensuring that the rehabilitation plan stays on course. Sports medicine therapists generally use various special equipment and a number of treatment modalities, such as electrical muscle stimulation, to build athletes' strength and flexibility and promote healing.

Job Requirements for a Sports Medicine Therapist

A master's degree in sports medicine, physical therapy, or athletic training is a common educational requirement for a career in sports medicine therapy. Additionally, sports medicine therapists must be licensed as physical therapists in the state where they intend to practice. State licensure requirements for physical therapists vary, but generally include graduation from a degree program that's been accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and passage of the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is overseen by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Some states require an additional jurisprudence examination that tests aspiring physical therapists on relevant state laws and regulations.

Certification Information

Voluntary certification for sports medicine therapists is available through the North American Sports Medicine Institute (NASMI) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). NASMI offers Sports Therapy Certification (STC) to those who complete a series of continuing education courses and a certification class. ACSM provides various credentials in health fitness, clinical professions and various specialties. Requirements for these certifications vary.

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It's Interesting

  • Knud Lundberg (May 14, 1920 – August 12, 2002) was a Danish multi-talented sportsperson, who most notably won a bronze medal with the Denmark national football team at the 1948 Summer Olympics. He represented the Danish national team in football (soccer), team handball and basketball, and he won the Danish national championship in all three...

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