What does it mean to be a professional Sports Therapist?
First, what does the term professional mean. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the term as “A person engaged or qualified in a profession.” (Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2017)
The term professional can then be narrowed down further to be more subject specific. (The Society of Sports Therapists, 2013:1-1) suggests that: A professional Sports Therapist is a healthcare specialist who shows competent and assured knowledge and understanding regarding the prevention, treatment, referral and rehabilitation of sports injuries.
Sports Therapists must have clear knowledge and understanding of their professional code of conduct, as well as a recognition and appreciation of the values of others. As well as the understanding of pressures that exist in the sports environment; all of which contribute to the characteristic of an autonomous professional. (Robertson et al., 2015:706-719)
Whilst following the professional codes of conduct, it is of paramount importance that you respect the clients/patient confidentiality. Information must only be shared once the patient/clients has given consent, the only time this information may be divulged without consent is in the case of an emergency. (The Society Of Sports Therapists, 2012:2-12)
The minimum educational requirement for a professional sports therapist is a bachelor’s degree in sports therapy. At Graduate level, a Sports Therapist is exercised and practised in principles that have sound practical and evidence based philosophies with solid sport and exercise science foundations. As such, Sports Therapists who are Members of The Society of Sports Therapists must meet clearly defined competency levels which cover broad array of skills. This gives them the knowledge, skills and ability to work at all levels of the industry. (The Society of Sports Therapists, 2013:1-1)
At Graduate level, a Sports Therapist will have the experience, knowledge and understanding to compete for jobs in the Sports Therapy industry, although, as long as progressions are being made in in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries a professional will never stop learning. To provide a premier service, a Sports Therapist must keep up to date with all the latest in research and technological advancements. Information relating to industry research can be found on any reputable Sports Therapy governing body website e.g. the Sports Therapy Organisation, along with dates for guest speakers and seminars.
Governing bodies such as the Sports Therapy Organisation also work alongside insurance brokers to offer affordable insurance packages, like Balens, who’s cover includes Medical Malpractice, Professional, Public and Products Liability (Sports Therapy Organisation, 2014:1). Without Insurance Sports Therapists would be liable for any medical malpractice.
As well as having the appropriate qualifications, it is important for a practitioner to act professionally around clients/patients. While performing physical examinations or massage it is important to talk in a polite manner whilst also trying to keep the client’s modesty with relevant towelling techniques. (FHT, 2015:1-32)
In conclusion, If a Sports Therapist has the qualifications, skills and attributes identified in the text above, then a practitioner could be considered professional.
FHT, F.H.T. (2015) FHT Code of Conduct and Professional Practice. [Online] Available from: https://www.fht.org.uk/fs/s/v/code_october15_final.pdf [accessed 31 October 2017].
Oxford English Dictionary, O.E.D. (2017) Definition of professional in English. [Online] Available from: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/professional [accessed 31 October 2017].
Robertson, P., Ward, K. and Di Leva, R. (2015) Routledge handbook of sports therapy, injury assessment and rehabilitation. London: Taylor and Francis Inc..
Society of Sports Therapist, S. (2013) What is Sports Therapy. [Online] Available from: http://www.society-of-sports-therapists.org/index.php/public_information/what-is-sports-therapy [accessed 30 October 2017].
Sports Therapy Organisation, S.T.O. (2014) Sports Therapy Organisation Insurance Scheme. [Online] Available from: http://www.balens.co.uk/services/customised-schemes/sports-therapy-organisation-insurance-scheme.aspx [accessed 31 October 2017].
The Society Of Sports Therapists, S.S.P. (2012) Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. London: The Society of Sports Therapists.