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How should I become more knowledgeable about sports management and sports medicine? How do I get opportunities in that field?

Hi, I'm Kiyah and I'm in 10th grade. I play flag football and basketball, and I play track. My flag football coach is one of my mentors, and she's a personal trainer, which sparked my interest in the topic. I also would like to take it to a professional level, working in the NBA or NFL.

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Chris’s Answer

Sports management and sports medicine or two very different topics. That said, I can answer more towards the sports medicine side of your question. There are many professions that fall under the umbrella of sports medicine. For example: team physician, orthopedic surgeon, physician assistant, physical therapist, chiropractor, athletic trainer, massage therapist, sports psychologist, sports nutritionist, dietitian, and the list goes on.

Based on the context clues in your question about your flag football coach being a personal trainer and you wanting to work in professional sports, I would recommend you look into a strength and conditioning coaching career. The gold standard is the NSCA- CSCS. For this, you would need a four-year degree in exercise science, kinesiology, health and sports studies, etc. You would then take the CSCS examination, and upon successful completion of the examination and all program requirements, you would then be a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Most college programs offer internships that would allow you various opportunities to work with individual clientele, or high school team sports, college team sports, and maybe even professional sports as an exercise science student. Every program will be a little bit different. I would recommend looking into a minimum of three programs in your local area and compare each of those programs.

As an athletic trainer, and an assistant professor in an athletic training program, I would recommend athletic training as a career. Athletic trainers are integral in the prevention, recognition, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. They also work very closely with sport coaches, and strength coaches for overall performance enhancement of an injured athlete.

Athletic training requires an entry-level masters degree. This means two years beyond the undergraduate degree. However, most athletic training programs will offer a 3+2 program. this means you would take three years of college courses as an undergraduate student, and you would then take two years of college courses as a graduate student. You would also need to take the BOC examination, the entry-level examination for athletic training. Upon successful completion of both the masters degree and the BOC examination, you would be certified as an athletic trainer.

Chris recommends the following next steps:

Do some soul-searching and narrow down your career focus
Use the Internet to search for college programs in that career field
Use the Internet to search for certifying organizations for those careers