Updated: Oct 25
I wrote this blog a number of years ago (although still applicable now), when school sport was thriving and Government funding for schools was higher than it is today. In America and Canada Athletic Therapists and Trainers are widely used within schools to support their young athletes, so here is my list of 10 reasons why UK based educational systems should employ Graduate Sports Therapists:
1. To be able to give top performing athletes the best chance at being the best. My role often includes working with school-age athletes, many of whom do not have access to expertise in performance optimisation, treatment, rehabilitation and mentoring.
2. Expertise within lessons. Throughout my career I worked with teachers and educators to develop and deliver workshops within lessons on specific methods of training, stretching, anatomy and many more; thus, improving students’ awareness of its practical application and further enhancing their knowledge.
3. First Aid training. Many schools will value in-house training, as it saves both money and time. As we see too often, school-age athletes with unknown conditions needing medical treatment whilst playing school sport. Sports Therapists can ensure that there is a large, well informed number of trained staff to deal with a variety of First Aid incidents with a clear and effective Emergency Action Plan. This also extends to the First Aid training of students from different year groups as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
4. The opportunity to get a well-informed medical assessment. Although there are First Aiders present within schools, it has been in my experience a well utilised resource to have a Graduate Sports Therapist available for further assistance and guidance.
'Graduate Sports Therapist can be a valuable asset when supporting students with specific medical conditions'
5. Support for students and pupils with care plans. It is usually the responsibility of the school, parents, student and local health providers to develop a care plan that comprehensively documents the condition and can provide teachers, staff and health care professionals with all the information they may need to support the student in the best possible way. The school Graduate Sports Therapist is in an ideal position to assist in the process of developing a care plan.
6. Support for students and pupils with care plans in completing extra-curricular activities. It is expected that schools provide equal opportunities to all students and therefore a Graduate Sports Therapist can be a valuable asset when supporting students with specific medical conditions while away from the school site.
'they meet the standards of proficiency determined by The Society of Sports Therapists'
7. Emergency care at sporting events. Whether it is school sports day, an enrichment activity for a Sixth Form team or a UK School Games, a Graduate Sports Therapist can lead any medical care needed for individuals.
8. Recognised healthcare professionals. Sports Therapists undertake a rigorous three-year degree, which guarantees that they meet the standards of proficiency determined by The Society of Sports Therapists, therefore your young athletes will be in the best care.
9. Links with local Universities. By linking with local Universities that collaborate with The Society of Sports Therapists, Student Sports Therapists can prove a valuable asset by assisting the Graduate Sports Therapist in their role, with the potential to devote more time to individuals. It also raises the aspirations of the students, visibly seeing Sports Therapists within the school environment and questioning what is required to go to University
10. Treatment for staff. You cannot under estimate the importance to the staff of being able to book an appointment within school to fit in with their academic timetable. They don't need to take any time off work, feel valued and in some cases come in to work because they know they can be receive treatment and be informed about their injury.
I hope this has been an insightful look into the role a Graduate Sports Therapist could have within the school environment and the list in by no means exhaustive.
Yours in sport,
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