Athletic therapy is a health care profession similar to physiotherapy that optimizes activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic therapy encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities of athletes and non-athletes.
They are all the same professions. Depending where it is practices; athletic therapy may be called differently. In the USA it is called athletic training. In the United Kingdom and Australia it is called sports therapy and in South Africa it is called Biokinetics. Respectively practitioners in these countries are called athletic trainers, sports therapists and Biokineticist.
No. Personal trainers are fitness professional and are not permitted to treat patients. Athletic therapists are health care professionals with similar scope of practice as physiotherapists and are permitted to treat patients using physiotherapy modalities and manual medicine amongst other techniques.
Mostly BSc (AT), CAT, DIBCAT or MSc(AT), CAT, DIBCAT. BSc (AT) stands for Bachelor of Science in Athletic Therapy, MSc (AT) stands for Master of Science in Athletic Therapy, CAT stands for Certified Athletic Therapist, DIBCAT stands for Diplomate of International Board of Certified Athletic Therapists.
It is a wrong assumption that athletic therapists only see athletes. While athletes constitute the majority of their client, athletic therapists (trainers) service non-athletes as well. Typical patients and clients served by athletic trainers include:
Recreational, amateur, and professional athletes
Individuals who have suffered musculoskeletal injuries in a motor vehicle accident or at work
Those seeking strength, conditioning, fitness, and performance enhancement
Athletic therapists are trained on orthopedic conditions while physiotherapists are additionally trained on cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory conditions as well. The therapeutic modalities used by both professions are the same, including manual therapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy, cryotherapy, laser, etc.
Athletic Therapists (aka sports therapists, athletic trainers, biokineticist) assess injuries and conditions, use contemporary rehabilitative techniques, therapeutic physiotherapy modalities, soft tissue therapy, joint mobilization, neuromuscular retraining, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, physical reconditioning, and supportive strapping procedures to promote an environment conducive to optimal healing in preparing the individual (athletes and non-athletes) for safe reintegration into an active lifestyle.
The Scope of Practice of an Athletic Therapist includes the prevention, immediate treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal & joints injuries. Prevention includes musculoskeletal and postural evaluation, equipment selection, fitting and repair, warm-up, conditioning programs, prophylactic or supportive taping, and adapting to the activity environment and facilities.