If sports are your passion, you might have always planned to work in a sports clinic. Hence, this article might wind up preaching to the choir a bit :) But for those of you who might be on the fence about whether to pursue sports or not, here are just a few of the reasons why we think it's a good call for you and your own future as a PT...
1. PT clinics that serve elite athletes provide premium care.
Don't want to farm your patients out to techs or aides? Check out an elite sports PT clinic. In order to meet the demands of high-level athletes, they're not going to be places where your aides do all the fun stuff.
When you work in a clinic where you provide premium care, you'll be proud of what you do. This is exactly what new grads need!
2. You'll learn a TON and grow your skillset immensely.
If you're serious about learning and honing your skills, working with elite level athletes will keep you as honest as they come. High-level athletes are more and more educated about what PT is, what it provides, and what the latest research says about their care.
When you work with this population, neither you nor they will be satisfied with the status quo. You'll constantly be pushing yourself to learn more; if you don't, they'll let you know that you're slacking!
3. You're less likely to burn out.
Before Shante Cofield, PT, DPT, CSCS burning out. Elite sports PT clinics build their entire brand on providing premium care, and that often means 1-on-1 care and less chance of you landing in a patient mill. While the latter could still occur, the more high-end the clinic, the less likely that is to occur.
When you're working with an active population, you won't be playing the role of counselor or emotional therapist the way you might in other clinics. Of course, some patients will be bummed out from time to time, but you'll generally be working with a motivated group of people who are devoted to their own recovery. HEP non-compliance will rarely be an issue with this bunch!
4. It's a solid career move.
Sports clinics have a lot of visibility. These types of establishments put a lot of effort into marketing. Some of the benefits that go along with a job at an elite sports PT clinic include:
- Teaching classes
- Mentoring students
- Presenting at local schools/universities
- Marketing/networking with other professionals
- Generally just fluffing your plumage after all your hard academic work
- Financial and moral support for continued career development, such as becoming a sports certified specialist (SCS)
Your picture and credentials will hang proudly on the wall, and your accomplishments will be celebrated by your colleagues. Achievement and accomplishment are valued and celebrated in sports PT clinics, rather than seen as threatening or ostentatious.
5. You'll be forced to stay fit.
We all know that patient buy-in is crucial to exceptional results. If you're trying to teach a patient about healthy footwear and you wear 99 cent flip flops everywhere, they're not going to take you seriously. Similarly, teaching patients how to do healthy squats and lunges - and how to lift without pain - requires that you're able to do so. You can't do these things without being in pretty good shape, so you'll have that summer bod before no time if you're working at a sports clinic! Plus, you won't have to pay for a gym membership when your own gym outshines any boring old chain gym...
While it can be tempting to leave traditional PT jobs in a fit of exhaustion, then skip the gym on the way home, this attitude won't fly in an elite sports PT clinic. Instead, your coworkers will rib you and give you a hard time until you hit the gym - literally in your building - after work with them. After all, your flab won't be making them look any better to their patients ;)