Sports physiotherapy is the specialized branch of physical therapy which deals with injuries and issues related to athletics. Experts in sports physiotherapy may do research, help athletes recover from injuries, and provide education and resources to prevent problems. Therapy services are generally available to persons of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition. Professionals may work in private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, or on site at athletic events.
Research efforts in sports physiotherapy lead to a better understanding of sports injuries and improved rehabilitation techniques. Scientists and engineers in biomedical research and development laboratories design equipment to help athletes recover from injuries and prevent future problems. For example, an engineer may design a new type of knee brace for an athlete with a torn knee ligament, a common injury in many sports. He or she may experiment with different types of materials and their configurations to create a comfortable, practical, supportive brace that an athlete can wear during activity. Much sports physiotherapy research is also dedicated to the development of better safety gear, such as helmets and mouthguards, to protect individuals in different sports.
Physicians and trainers who practice sports physiotherapy have extensive knowledge of the array of injuries that can occur when playing sports. Therapists help athletes overcome their injuries and return to their previous levels of activity by offering rehabilitation services and advice on preventing future issues. When an athlete is injured, he or she meets with a physiotherapist to discuss the problem and determine the best rehabilitation plan. He or she may be instructed to take medicine prescribed by a physician and participate in physical therapy sessions to regain strength and confidence. Throughout rehabilitation training, the therapist evaluates the athlete's progress and advises him or her on how to prevent another injury from occurring.
Depending on the type and severity of an injury, successful rehabilitation physiotherapy may take anywhere from a couple hours in light sessions to months or years of intensive training. Some competitive athletes meet with their therapists regularly over the course of their careers to assess the condition of lingering injuries and look for warning signs of that new ones may occur. Some experts provide counseling services to their long-term clients as well, helping athletes make the best career choices to promote their health and safety. With the guidance and treatment provided by skilled therapists and physicians, many athletes are able to fully recover from injuries and return to their sports with ease.