A degree in sports medicine focuses on the ways in which students can diagnose, treat, and prevent body injuries. Huge portions of this course involve human anatomy, health, and overall fitness.
The concept of sports medicine originally came from the specialized needs of elite or Olympic-level athletes. But nowadays, the different fields of sports medicine can be applied to athletes of all levels, and even to non-athletes.
Pursuing Sports Medicine: What Are Your Possible Career Paths?
For people who are amazed by both sports and science, sports medicine offers the right kind of academic and professional challenge. In fact, it can seem like the perfect haven if you’re an athletic type and a data geek at the same time.
This is because you’ll get to work on data and numbers, and then you’ll see how these are played out by actual athletes in the real world. You’ll also have the necessary know-how to help them recover from serious injuries.
If you’re still wondering whether you should study sports medicine, listed below are seven interesting career paths that you can get into should you decide to pursue it:
1. Athletic Trainer
An athletic trainer is a medical professional who helps sports teams and individual athletes about injury prevention and treatment. Because of their title, they’re often confused with personal trainers, who are in charge of teaching people about proper movements in sports.
Athletic trainers also work with the athletes’ coaches, team doctors, and physical therapists to ensure that they’ll be at their peak condition when it’s time for their main competition.
Have you always been fascinated by systems, or how things are interconnected? Then you’ll probably have fun as a biomechanist. Biomechanics is about understanding the physics of body movements and how these affect the athlete in their sport.
Biomechanists think of ways on how the body can move in the most efficient and safest way possible. They aim to learn how various movements can be put together so injuries can ultimately be prevented.
3. Exercise Physiologist
Have you encountered elite-level athletes who are hooked to various sensors while running on a treadmill? Exercise physiologists are responsible for that. If you’re into data and experiments, a career path in exercise physiology is something that you might enjoy.
Physiology, at its core, is concerned about life processes. Hence, they regularly conduct controlled experiments to see how the body reacts to certain changes and adaptations.
4. Physical Therapist
Athletes of all levels are bound to encounter sports injuries in one way or another. That’s where physical therapists come in. They help individuals who have suffered from injuries improve their range of motion through manual manipulation, specialized equipment, stretching, and eventually, exercise.
Nowadays, the physiatrist is commonly referred to as a PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation). This professional is also a physician.
They work closely with orthopedic surgeons to supplement an individual’s orthopedic treatment. They’re usually responsible for non-surgical orthopedic care, such as injections and physical therapy.
Athletes typically need a specialized kind of diet to perform at their best. Even amateurs need diet change if they wish to change their bodies and lifestyle into something healthier.
These issues can be solved by a nutritionist, who takes into account what the athlete’s goals and current fitness levels are. Nutritionists know that they can never apply a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to advising people about what and how they should eat.
7. Sports Psychologist
Sports is very much a mental challenge as much as it is physical. Aside from having a strong and well-prepared body, they must also have the mental tenacity to push through when they think their body is already giving in.
Fortunately, sports psychologists are here to help athletes master the mental aspect of their sport. They specialize in mental health so they can teach athletes how to motivate themselves, manage stress and anxiety, and enhance their performance mentally.
Sports Medicine Lets You Enjoy Your Love For Sports And Science
Sports medicine is a field where your passion for sports, data, and injury prevention will all be useful to you, especially if you’re an athlete, and also to all your future clients. If you also have a creative mind, you may also learn how to develop athletic plans that are more effective than the ones that are currently in use.
Sports isn’t about all athletic talent; it also involves knowing how to keep athletes healthy and able to train in their best possible shape. As a sports medicine graduate, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that they’re equipped to handle anything that comes their way.