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Athletic Therapist

Description

During a football game, if a player gets tackled and falls to the ground and cannot get up, the athletic therapist is the person you see run onto the field to see if the player is okay. Playing all sports, especially contact sports like football and hockey, can be very dangerous to a person's body. Not only are athletes at risk for injuries like fractures and sprains, they sustain general wear and tear like strains and bruises. Athletic therapists help athletes maintain and improve their athletic capabilities by advising and treating athletes and coaches on the prevention and treatment of sport musculoskeletal injuries.

Athletic therapists evaluate athletic injuries to determine what type of treatment is necessary for a full and quick recovery. They develop conditioning and injury rehabilitation programs tailored to meet the needs of individual athletes.

Athletic therapists who work with sports teams help to get injured athletes back to playing their particular sport. For example, in treating sports injuries, therapists may use techniques such as hydrotherapy, cryotherapy (therapeutic use of cold), electrotherapy, hands-on treatment such as manipulation and massage, or therapeutic exercise, conditioning and flexibility training. They also prepare all team members with individual treatments before a game including bandaging, taping, bracing and wrapping isolated areas.

When an athletic therapist runs onto a sporting field, they are required to make a quick assessment of the injury, provide basic emergency life support (if necessary), administer first aid and help the player to the locker room for a closer examination. Other types of prevention methods includes musculoskeletal and postural evaluation, equipment selection, fitting and repair, warm-up and stretching, physical and mental conditioning programs, prophylactic or supportive taping, and adapting to the activity environment and facilities.

Athletic therapists also care for athlete's needs outside of game and practice time, which includes therapy during the off-season, when athletes are training for the next season or recovering from the last season's injuries.
 
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Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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