Sports Medicine Job Description

What kinds of careers are available in the field of sports medicine?

There are a variety of sports medicine careers available for those interested in combining a love of physical activity with the pursuit of an allied health profession. Sports psychologists, fitness trainers, and rehabilitative therapists are all allied healthcare professionals who work in the field of sports medicine.

Fitness trainers are trained professionals who work with athletes of all kinds.  Some fitness trainers specialize in particular sports

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Physical therapists help individuals recover and rehabilitate from physical injuries and from illnesses that damage or weaken their nerves, muscles, or other parts of the body.  Physical therapists who specialize in sports medicine assist athletes as they recover and rehabilitate from physical injuries that either are sustained during athletic activity or impair performance in athletic competition. Physical therapists work with injured athletes on a long-term basis when an injury precludes or severely limits continued participation in athletics.  A physical therapist will devise individually tailored exercises and fitness routines with the goal of restoring the athlete to a physical state in which it is possible to participate fully in athletics at the competitive level.

What is the role of psychology in sports medicine?

Those with an interest in psychology and the behavioral sciences, as well as sports, may wish to consider becoming a sports psychologist.  The field of sports psychology has been growing as athletes and those who work with them have come to appreciate the significant impact of an athlete’s state of mind on his or her performance level.  It is becoming more and more obvious that mental skills and aspects of psychological well-being--including mental discipline, the ability to concentrate, relaxation, and anxiety reduction--are as important to athletic success as physical skills.  This is especially true for athletes who compete at the professional and elite level, which entails a great deal of psychological pressure.  Sports psychologists can help athletes deal with the stress of competition and find the motivation and discipline needed to pursue the physical training necessary to succeed.  They can also help improve group dynamics within sports teams so that the members work together more successfully toward their competitive goals.

How do I decide whether I want a career in sports medicine?

Perhaps you are interested in fitness and exercise but unsure how to incorporate your enthusiasm for athletics into your career.  Learning about the variety of careers available in the sports medicine field is a good way to start thinking about possible career paths that will cater to your interests.  Once you have done your research and learned the basic parameters of the various sports medicine careers available to you, seek out people who actually work in the field.  Find a sports psychologist or a certified rehabilitative therapist and find out exactly what he or she does on a daily basis.  Ask about the skills and educational preparation needed to succeed in that career.  Can you see yourself doing what this person does for a living?

Another way to learn more about various sports medicine jobs and careers is to get some hands-on experience.  Volunteering at a local school, clinic, hospital, or community athletic facility is an excellent way to get an insider’s view of the field of sports medicine.

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Sports Medicine Schools