Sports Rehab – The Three Phases of Sports Rehab

The goal of sports rehab is to return an athlete to their pre-injury physical and emotional level as quickly as possible. This is achieved by a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses not only the injured area, but the entire body to prevent overall deconditioning. Psychological and nutritional interventions may also be employed.

The first phase of rehabilitation is rest, allowing the injured tissue to heal. This is essential to a speedy recovery, but it is not an excuse for the injured athlete to avoid training. In fact, athletes who are unable to train or play due to injury can actually delay their recovery and increase the length of time it takes for them to return to full performance.

In the second phase of rehabilitation, stretching and exercise routines are used. Stretching helps muscles shortened by injury or pain to regain their normal length, and exercise routines include exercises to build strength around the affected joints and improve balance. This will often include sport-specific drills and movement patterns.

During this stage, therapeutic modalities are commonly used to decrease pain and oedema in the injured tissues. It is recommended that these be used judiciously with a clear understanding of the physiological basis and risks of each treatment intervention and an awareness that a patient’s response to therapy will vary from person to person.

Sport therapists are trained to assess an injury and match the appropriate manual or exercise based rehabilitation intervention to your condition. They are able to effectively identify the presence of underlying medical conditions and provide a referral for care to other healthcare professionals as required. BASRaT registered sport rehabilitators have successfully completed an accredited three year BSc honours degree in Sport Rehabilitation, along with over 400 clinical hours and an independent national registration examination.

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