Deborah R.’s Answer
As others have said, you don't have to choose between the two. You could do one and then the other or you could be a therapist for a children's sports team, or an adult team, or work in a hospital with children. Physical therapy is a career in which it is possible to change your focus.
I was a PT for adults and then a pediatric PT in schools where I sometimes worked with the adaptive physical education teacher. A lot of what I taught children to do were pre-sports activities; throwing, kicking, catching, riding a tricycle or bicycle, throwing a ball into a basket or a box, and of course many other activities.
Usually one thinks of sports PT as orthopedic - injuries to bones and muscles. The children I worked with had neurological problems, brain and nerve problems, so I had to help them learn how to do basic movement activities. Some of what I did helped prepare them to participate in group physical activities such as sports.
So, you could volunteer somewhere and watch PTs work in the two areas that interest you, and you can look for ways to do both at the same time. Since you will rotate into and out of many different kind of placements you could try to make sure you were able to work in both areas while you are in school and see what you think.
Working in a hospital is very different from working in any other environment.
Deborah R. recommends the following next steps:
- Since I don't know where you are in your schooling it is hard to suggest a next step. But when you are in PT school do try to get a placement in adult sports medicine and in hospital pediatrics. That is the best way to identify a direction to start with.