How to become a Sports Therapist

Above every other skill-set, sports therapists are experts in deep tissue therapy.  It is a skill-set that the public desires in an age of machines, waiting lists, and the current ‘exercise and movement will fix everything’ trend. No matter how we may try to re-brand sports therapy, the public’s perception of  a sports therapist, whether they happen to be Physical Therapists or Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Neuromuscular Therapists, Manipulative Therapists, Sports rehabilitators or Athletic Therapists etc, is best described as a sports masseuse. And rightly so, event massage is a common thread on match day, or the day of an energetic stage performance or before, during or after a walk, run or race. Guess what?.….nobody does it better! Gone are the days when the kitman, manager or coach would rub some mixture of cooking oil and menthol based cream on an athlete’s ‘tight hamstrings’ because of a lack of better options.

Within the FAI league of Ireland or Club or County level GAA, the first aider is usually a fully qualified, registered and insured sports massage therapist of some stripe. And it is through the necessity for event first aid that a sports therapist gets their foot in the door either with a team or sporting organisation. Which means that sports first aid is a must. Due to the fact that it also has to be re-certified every two years and the qualification can be attained in a few days this is where a budding sports massage therapist should start. Once in the door, that therapist now has the opportunity to wow both athletes and backroom team with their event massage skills which, when administered properly can be an effective tool in sports psychology strategies, enhance lymphatic drainage, increase synovial joint fluid and hyluronic acid to facilitate tissue gliding and resist premature fatigue, as well as a chance to assess each and every athlete’s state of readiness and general subjective well-being before during and after the event.

Due to this the sports massage therapist will be the natural source of advice about injury, discomfort and pain for the athlete. The Sports massage therapist will, screen the athlete thoroughly, assess them both subjective and objectively through movement analysis and palpation and will then plan and apply a complex treatment that may involve deep tissue therapy, neuromuscular techniques and specific exercise / movements. So a reputable qualification is a must to ensure not only that the athlete is in safe and effective hands but that the sports massage therapist themselves is properly informed and therefore confident to give advice that won’t open them or their school, insurance company or association up to litigation. The level of anatomy that a sports therapist needs to possess is impressive, as bar a surgeon very few other professions require the ability to avoid multiple human endangerment sites to do their daily job.Sports Massage Therapy 3 - 5 Courses Rogue Institute Cork Ireland.jpg

Therefore it is in a school’s and best interests to adequately prepare their graduates for the industry and for a sports therapy association or registrar to only represent quality therapists and for insurance companies to only award professional indemnity cover to appropriately qualified therapists. There are many sports massage schools across Ireland and the UK. Some offer externally accredited qualifications like ITEC and others don’t. The benefit of external accreditation is that many other schools and institutes of higher education will recognise the qualification and this widens a graduate’s opportunities for academic progression. The other benefit of external accreditations is that employers will more readily recognise the qualifications for employment regardless of whether they recognise the school where they were earned. This is the case for 38 countries outside of Ireland if choosing an ITEC accredited course like that in Rogue Institute, Kinsale, Cork,  Munster, Ireland.

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