Sports Therapy Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Sports Therapy?

Sports Therapy is an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Sports Therapy in the following subject areas:

  • BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy – During this programme, you will learn to assess, treat and where appropriate refer athletes for specialist advice and intervention.
  • Sports Injury Prevention and Massage Therapy – This one-year course will equip students with the knowledge and skills required for working within the area of sports injury prevention and sports massage therapy in the sports, coaching, recreation and leisure industries.
  • ITEC Level 5 Course in Sports Massage – This course will progress the Sports massage therapists understanding from the treatment of generic sports injuries to being able to pinpoint the underlying causes, effectively treat and design rehabilitation programs.
  • Sports Management and Coaching – Gain the social, communication and leadership skills to work with individuals and groups in the growing sports coaching and health and fitness areas.
  • Sports, Recreation & Exercise: QQI Level 5 Major Award – Gain an understanding of the Leisure industry and other general areas which will be beneficial to your future career in Sports, Recreation and Exercise.

Studying Sports Therapy

There are many courses in Sports Therapy that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. You don’t necessarily need to be, or have been, an athlete or player, although many in the profession do come from this background. However, experience in coaching and fitness training is highly recommended as you’ll need to have knowledge of different sporting disciplines in order to provide suitable treatment.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Sports Therapy course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of sporting injuries, treatment, rehabilitation and support, and advice on prevention.

As a Sports Therapist, your role will be to provide an immediate response when sport and exercise-related injuries occur and rehabilitate the patient back to full fitness. You will also provide advice and support to help prevent injuries from happening in the first place. Patients can be adults or children who are involved in sport or fitness at amateur or professional level, or for general fitness and recreational purposes.

If injuries or health-related issues go beyond your scope of practice, you’ll refer the patient to an appropriate healthcare professional. Most sports therapists are typically employed by sports injury clinics, professional and amateur sports teams or clubs, health and fitness clubs and sports and leisure centres. Some sports therapists will also work in other sport-related roles such as teaching, coaching or personal training.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. You’ll usually work around 37 hours a week, although the hours are often irregular. Evening and weekend work is common.

If you work with a sports team, you need to be available for weekend fixtures and seven days a week during the season. The role may include regular travel to fixtures, meetings and other events. If working with sports teams you may need to travel nationally and possibly internationally. It’s also possible to set up and run a sports injury clinic and offer sport and exercise injury assessment and treatment sessions.

With experience, it may be possible to offer a consultancy service, e.g. for TV and film productions. As well as working as a sports therapist for a club or team, or in private practice, some sports therapists choose to move into a related area of work, such as fitness consulting, personal training or health promotion.

Related jobs include:

  • Sports therapist
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Fitness centre manager
  • Personal trainer
  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Sports administrator
  • Sports coach
  • Sports development officer
  • Choreographer
  • Clinical scientist
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Nutritionist
  • Outdoor activities/education manager
  • Sport and exercise psychologist

Further study

After completing a course in Sports Therapy you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as Physiology, Fitness and Health or Nutrition.


What is the difference between Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy?

The role of the Physiotherapists is to help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.

Sports therapists are experts in musculoskeletal disorders. They treat pain and injury through hands-on treatment and rehabilitation. Sports Therapists undergo intensive training which focuses primarily on the musculoskeletal system and on restoring, maintaining and maximising movement to relieve pain and increase the quality of life.

Where can I study Sports Therapy?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • The man on the NBA logo was a former player. The logo is a silhouette of Jerry West. He is one of many players that are featured in the NBA hall of fame. Jerry West was previously known to play for the Lakers.
  • The first Olympic race took place in 776 BC and was won by a chef named Corubus. Moments after receiving his first paycheck, he hired a cook and an agent.
  • A microwaved baseball will fly much further than a frozen baseball. Warmer balls weigh less and therefore can move faster with less air resistance.
  • Cheetahs were once raced at Romford Greyhound Stadium. This was done as an attempt to increase the number of attendees during its events. The owner believed that having cheetahs race would be enough excitement to increase the audience’s interest.
  • The longest recorded tennis match lasted for 11 hours. This took place at Wimbledon in 2010. John Isner won this match against Nicolas Mahut and took over 3 days to complete.

Mariza Halliday

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