Sports medicine offers an assortment of health careers. The career you choose will depend on your career goals, interests, and the environment you want to work in. Some careers require degrees and certification, so assisting a sports medicine professional can help you choose which path is right for you. By assisting or volunteering with medical personnel you can learn what it takes for a career in their field and gain some experience.
Here are just a few of the careers available to you as a sports medicine professional:
- Physical Therapist: Physical therapists use physical methods to treat and diagnose injuries. Through manipulation, traction, massage, application of hot or cold compresses, and exercise, these practicioners help patients recover from a myriad of complaints. Therapists offer services to those in chronic pain or immobilized from injury or disease. The average salary of a physical therapist is $68,000 a year.
- Nurse: Nurses are an integral aspect of disease prevention, health promotion, and recovery from illness. Nurses may practice independently or as a member of a health care team. This field has a wide variety of nursing certification and degrees which range from entry-level to doctoral-level.
- Athletic Trainer: Athletic trainers are professionals trained to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries as a result of physical activity. Medical treatment like surgery or even going to the hospital can be an enormous disruption in your physical training regimine -- even your everyday life. Athletic trainers help prevent patients from needing invasive, expensive, and disruptive procedures by preventing and managing athletic injuries.
Like other fields of sports medicine, athletic training is becoming a popular occupation. Additionally, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, athletic trainers’ salaries are also increasing. Currently as a trainer you can expect to earn $35,000 to $75,000 a year. Your salary depends on where and with whom you choose to work:
- Youth sports $46,296
- Professional sports $50,515
- High schools $42,442
- Hospitals $54,292
- Performing arts $56,135
- Government $50,716
Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Athletic Trainer’s Association for more details on job and salary statistics.
- Orthopaedic Surgeon: Orthopaedics is a branch of surgery concerned with problems in the musculoskeletal system. Using both surgical and nonsurgical procedures (like braces), orthopaedics treat skeletal trauma, sports injuries, and other disorders.
- Physician (M.D.): Like any other medical doctor, as a physician you would be responsible for examining patients and performing and interpreting diagnostic tests. Besides counseling patients about health conditions and preventive healthcare, you can also teach, conduct research, and oversee medical centers. Physicians are always in demand whether as a family practitioner, psychiatry, or pediatrics. According to salary.com you can expect to earn anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 a year. Physicians can also choose a specialty including, but not limited to, the following:
- Family and general medicine
- Primary care sports medicine
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Kinesiotherapist: As a kinesiotherapist you can design and monitor rehabilitation programs for diseased or injured patients seeking to regain muscle strength and function; you will know not only anatomy but the physiology of the human body as a whole. Not only must you choose the right exercises for strength building, but they must not further damage the patient. Coordinated therapies that involve motivation and goals will help your patient improve faster. As a kinesiotherapist you can expect to earn from $36,000 to $45,000.
- Exercise Physiologist: Exercise physiologists administer exercise tests, design individualized exercises, and customize exercise programs for athletes, those with chronic diseases, or people who are just interested in sports. Unlike a “personal trainer,” physiologists are certified by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists. Often doctors will refer patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease to see an exercise physiologist. As an exercise physiologist you can expect to earn $37,500 to $48,500 a year.
For more information about sports medicine and its importance, visit Stop Sports Injuries.