16 March, 2021 | Posted by Cian Fahey

How a Sports Therapy Degree Can Open Your Career Path

Stephen Kenny will be without Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah for his first World Cup Qualifiers. Ireland’s two young stars will miss the international window through injury. James Ryan and Garry Ringrose won’t finish the Six Nations. Ireland’s two young stars will miss the final weekend through injury.

Leon Edwards’ UFC bout ended in a no-contest because of an unfair injury. Lebron James’ Los Angeles Lakers lost five games in a row because Anthony Davis is injured. When Paris St. Germain beat Barcelona, Neymar sat in the stands because of an injury.

Injuries are everywhere. They’re in every sport and an accepted consequence of expending your athleticism.

There will never be a time when human beings play sports without injuries. Maybe the cyborgs take over at some point or esports completely erase the need for actual sports, but right now that seems unlikely. As such, the sports therapist will continue to be an integral role in billion dollar organizations across the globe.


Sports Therapy – the injury!

Contact sports and non-contact sports have different injury profiles for their players. Contact sports are more likely to feature individual incidents that lead to severe injury. A boxer or UFC fighter who connects perfectly on his opponent’s orbital bone will likely break it.

That is less likely to happen in golf. Unless someone swings a club at you.

But in golf the repetitive motion of swinging a club will strain your back and your knees. Tiger Woods, before his recent car crash, was already dealing with major chronic pain because of how much he had swung a golf club over his lengthy career. Rory McIlroy completely changed his athletic profile by committing to the gym to prepare his body for that anticipated strain.

Whenever an athlete in contact sport, non-contact sport, individual or team sport gets hurt, they turn to their sports therapist.


What is a Sports Therapist?

Sports Therapists are trained to handle whatever type of injury comes to them. They understand the bodies of the athletes they work with and what condition they need to be in to best perform for their specific sport. They specialise in prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries related to physical activities.

They make sure that people involved in sport and exercise are training and competing safely.

As a sports therapist, you may be on the field to provide an immediate response when an athlete is initially hurt. Assessing the injured party’s range of movement to determine the extent of their injuries and determine if they can return to active training is standard practice. Should the injury require them to refrain from training for a period of time, the sports therapist will develop an individual treatment plant o help them regain their fitness.


Where Do Sports Therapists Work?

Sports Therapists are constantly in demand. You can work professionally in sport either at the elite, professional level or at the recreational, amateur level.

Private Clinic and Team Care

Sports teams require qualified professionals to provide both acute pitch side care and longer-term management of injury prevention and rehabilitation protocols. You may work for one sports team exclusively or provide consultancy and care to several different sports teams.

For example, Portobello Institute Tutor and Graduate Cathal Brady combined his experience as a former league of Ireland soccer player with his education to start his own private clinic. He is now providing therapy sessions to individual clients at his practice and on site to client teams. Cathal manages a very impressive client base working with UCD and Maynooth University teams as well as providing rehabilitation to GAA and Rugby teams.

Amateur sports and national governing bodies also require qualified Sports Therapists to provide ongoing care to national athletes. They work within a national sports structure which can include travelling to competitions to provide support and care to athletes across different teams.

A degree in Sports Therapy can equip you with the qualifications, skills and insurance requirements to commence your own private practice. You can provide care to both the general population and the population of athletes to optimize musculoskeletal health and reduce injury.

Allied Health Disciplines

A BSc Sports Therapy can also lead to career options in other allied health disciplines such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy or clinical physiology. Dan O'Mahony, a recent graduate of our Sports therapy degree, progressed directly to the masters course in physiotherapy at the RCSI. Jamie Judge, Student of the year 2018, is attained his masters degree in Physiotherapy from Brunel University London.

Academia and Research

By studying the broad curriculum of Sports Therapy, you are set up to continue to a career in academia, combining research, teaching and practice in further studies to masters and doctorate level. This provides a fulfilling career contributing to the education of up-and-coming professionals, contributing to evidence-based best practices through research and continuing your applied practice as a Sports Therapist.

Dr Susan Giblin, Head of Portobello Institute’s Sports Department, is a leading academic and practitioner in Sport. She began her career working with a wide variety of clients from high profile professional teams in the US, UK and Australia, as well as minority Irish Sports groups. Dr Giblin was responsible for the health of athletes ranging from male American football players to female sailors and archers. She completed her MSc in Performance Psychology at Edinburgh University and PhD in psychomotor development and assessment at the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Lancashire.

Susan has continued her research into development and validation of technologies for performance assessment while lecturing at Portobello. Publishing her research in high-ranking international scientific journals allows her to continue to contribute to the development of her own students and students across the globe.


How do I become a Sports Therapist?

Portobello Institute’s Level 8 degree in Sports Therapy is accredited by London Metropolitan University. This internationally-recognized qualification combines theory and practice so that you learn how to apply, when to apply and why you are applying the practices of Sports Therapy.

On this course, you will learn:

  • Fundamentals of anatomy & biomechanics
  • Principles for human physiology
  • Biomedical implications of exercise
  • Musculoskeletal injury mechanism and assessment
  • Sports massage and therapeutic modalities
  • Sports first aid and pitch side assistant
  • Individually assess and treat athletes
  • Provide immediate care of injuries
  • Plan and implement a unique rehabilitation programme for each athlete
  • Conduct sport and remedial massage for injury prevention and rehabilitation


I Still Have Questions:

For more information about our Sports Therapy course, you can talk to course advisor Johanna Shaw at 01-892-0024 or you can email her at jo.shaw@portobelloinstitute.com. Portobello Institute also runs regular virtual days where lecturers from the course and Johanna are on hand to offer information and answer questions.