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What is the difference between being an Athletic/Sports Therapist and regular Physical Therapist?

I’ve been looking at Physical Therapy, but recently I was told Athletic Therapy might be a better fit for me. One of the reasons was being that PT simply worked with senior citizens more and AT works with adults or maybe younger. I just know I would prefer to work with teenagers, maybe young adults, or even children. I love the basic stretches, work outs, kinesthetic tapes, etc. Which one would you recommend for me? #Spring23

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Laura’s Answer

Hello, I’m a PT (10 years) in the USA. I’d research schooling and Spains laws on treatment. In the US it’s a little different as AT’s do work with the sports crowds but so do certain PT’s. You can be a PT for a sports team or a PT of an outpatient clinic with sports specific certifications. I’d pick the one that your country lets you do more with your degree.
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Linda’s Answer

I am only able to provide information regarding the United States. Physical Therapists have the ability to diagnose and treat individuals from the beginning to the end of their lives. This means that they can work in the NICU as well as in hospice care, and provide treatment throughout a person's lifespan. Athletic Trainers in the US have a narrower scope of practice and typically work in high schools, private practices, and sports teams at different levels of competition. I do not believe that Physical Therapy is as limited as you may assume, and I suggest referring to their association information for more details. https://world.physio/membership/spain
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Sana’s Answer

Physical therapy is a vast field and sports therapy is one the part of physical therapy. If you are doing only physiotherapy than you can work in variety of fields such as cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, pediatric physiotherapy, musculoskeletal PT, manual therapy, neurological PT, gynaecological PT, integumentary PT and much more. It is totally false that you will work only with elderly. After doing bachelor's in physiotherapy you will have wide variety of options to opt for masters including sports physiotherapy or sports rehabilitation. In physiotherapy you can work in hospital setting as well as clinical setup. Where as in sports rehabilitation you can work in a clinical setup or on field with athelets. Basically in sports therapy you prevent athelets from sports related injuries, help them improve their performance, help them recovering from injury. It's true that in sports therapy you can work with young adults or children where as in physiotherapy you can work with wide range of population including children young adults, old people
Well, I would suggest you to do bachelor's in physiotherapy explore all these fields by yourself and then decide which field you want to opt in your masters. I have this opinion that your work should give you happiness not burden ( you should feel happy when being on work rather than going to work with sadness and pressure)
So just explore yourself which field makes you happy then go with that field you will be very successful one day in your field of you are loyal with your field.
Good luck!!!
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Emma’s Answer

Hello Emma (love your name by the way) -

Both Athletic Therapists and standard Physical Therapists are vital in the field of musculoskeletal rehabilitation, but they each have unique specializations and educational backgrounds. Athletic Therapists mainly work with athletes or those involved in physical activities. Their expertise lies in treating sports-related injuries, preventing injuries, and providing immediate care on the sports field. They are often present at sports events, helping athletes return to play as soon as possible. Their education typically includes a bachelor's degree in Athletic Therapy or a related field, and they might have specific sports medicine certifications. You'll usually find Athletic Therapists in sports clinics or working directly with sports teams.

On the other hand, standard Physical Therapists offer rehabilitation services to a more diverse group of patients. They treat various musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiopulmonary conditions, not just sports-related injuries. Their practice includes managing chronic pain, aiding in post-surgery recovery, treating neurological disorders, and more. In the United States, Physical Therapists hold Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees or equivalent qualifications in other countries. They have comprehensive medical and rehabilitative education. As licensed healthcare professionals, they work in various environments like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practices, serving patients from all walks of life and across all age groups. While both professions are dedicated to enhancing musculoskeletal health, their unique areas of expertise and educational backgrounds make them more suitable for different patient groups and needs.
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