Sports therapist

Sports therapist

A sports therapist uses a variety of physical techniques and therapies in the rehabilitation and treatment of athletes who are suffering from injuries or illnesses.

In Ireland, professional and post graduate level ‘Sports Therapists’ are better known as Athletic Therapists or ARTC’S. ARTC stands for ‘Athletic and Rehabilitation Therapist Certified’. In order to become a ‘Certified Athletic and Rehabilitation Therapist’ the following educational pathway is required.

  • An honours degree (NFQ level 8) in a field related to sports medicine with a minimum of 500 hours of related clinical experience.
  • Be certified as an Emergency First Responder by PHECC (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council), the national statutory body for emergency care standards and education.
  • Pass the ARTI certification examination which has a theory and a practical section. 70% is required in both sections to pass the examination.

Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy Ireland (ARTI) is the professional organisation responsible for the promotion, regulation, and continued education of Athletic and Rehabilitation Therapists. More information can be found on their website Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy Ireland

Although Athletic Therapy is in its infancy as a recognised profession in Ireland, graduates of Athletic Therapy degrees in Ireland who become certified as ARTC's are eligible to work in the USA, Canada, and the UK through the mutual recognition agreement which was signed in 2015.
This means Irish graduates are eligible to sit the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association - USA) and CATA (Canadian Athletic Therapists Association) accreditation exams allowing a career pathway for Irish graduates to work in these countries should they wish to. Irish graduates are currently eligible to register with BASRaT (British Association of Sports Rehabilitators and Trainers) with no exam requirement should they choose to seek employment in the UK.
(BASRAT) see The professional title used by BASRAT members is G.S.R (Graduate Sports Rehabilitator). Many Irish Sports Rehabilitators/Athletic Therapists are members of both organisations and use the titles ARTC and G.S.R

Differences between an Athletic Therapist and a Physiotherapist?

ARTC’s have an educational background specialised in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and sports medicine. ARTC’s specialise in the prevention, assessment , diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation musculoskeletal injuries related to physical activities. ARTC’s can work with athletic and non-athletic populations.

Physiotherapy is a broad based health care profession that addresses musculoskeletal care of the physically active but also divides its attention among a number of diverse medical fields, including oncology, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, rheumatology, respiratory and neurological illnesses and burn injury.

Job Description - Athletic Therapists

Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy can be divided into four general areas:

  • Injury Prevention and Pre-Participation Screening
  • On-Field Emergency Care
  • Injury Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Rehabilitation and Reconditioning

Work Activities

ARTC’s can work in a variety of settings, most typically in sports injury clinics, in the general work place, with professional and recreational sports teams/athletes or with national governing bodies (NGB’s) of various sports.

Private Companies and Sports Therapy

There are a number of private companies in Ireland offering Sports Therapy and Sports Massage courses and diplomas.

It is important to be aware that the above mentioned courses offered on the internet that are not offered by established Higher Education Centres (Institutes of Technology, Universities) are limited in terms of professional recognition both Nationally and Internationally. Opportunities for this level of Sports Therapist are limited to the private sector only.

The ARTI accredited programmes currently offered in Ireland are:

  • BSc. in Sport Rehabilitation and Athletic Therapy, Institute of Technology, Carlow
  • BSc. in Athletic Therapy and Training, Dublin City University
  • BSc. in Athletic and Rehabilitation Therapy, Athlone Institute of Technology.

What is Sports Therapy?