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Study Sports Physiotherapy


Curtin University

UNLIKE A DECADE AGO. THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR POSTGRADUATE STUDY IN SPORTS PHYSIOTHERAPY TODAY. THERE ARE
MORE GRADUATE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE AND COURSES MAY VARY GREATLY IN STRUCTURE AND FOCUS.


These programs provide a flexible and accessible mode of graduate education for physiotherapists, with a wide variety of clinical speciality interests. So, given all these options, how should you choose a course? Perhaps the first decision  you should make is why you want tot study. There are many reasons why physiotherapists choose to undertake postgraduate studies. Many will say that they feel a  personal need for further knowledge acquisition in their  particular field of practice. Others say they have a particular clinical question they want to investigate; some that they believe a postgraduate qualification is  necessary in order to secure employment or achieve the promotion they seek. If you see yourself primarily as a clinician, then course work  Masters and Postgraduate Diploma programs are probably the most relevant. As well as  theoretical and practical units, which improve you knowledge base in your chosen discipline, these degree/diploma usually include units in research methods and opportunities for project work.  

MASTER OF SPORTS PHYSIOTHERAPY 

Even though the Olympic Games in Sydney are now behind us, physiotherapists need the competitive edge in injury management and performance enhancement when treating the elite athlete. Physiotherapy schools, such as Curtin University, School of Physiotherapy, may offer the Master of Sports Physiotherapy, embracing the latest scientific evidence-based clinical practice, the most up-to-date assessment, treatment and rehabilitation in athletic injury prevention for upper limb, lower quadrant and spinal injuries. Programs usually have a well-balanced structure to give students a good knowledge of clinical practice, assessment and treatment. For example, the Master of Sports Physiotherapy at Curtin University is split into supervised clinical practice, and clinical advanced level of assessment and treatment in sports manual therapy. During the supervised clinical practice section of the program, students are supervised by experienced clinicians, all  of whom have postgraduate qualifications in Sports Physiotherapy. There are five different clinical placements, which are located at sports injury clinics and teaching hospitals. Students are personally supervised in their assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of sports injury problems. At the end of each 4-week clinical block, students are assessed and given detailed feed- back. The clinical advanced level of assessment and treatment in sports and manual therapy begins by covering a diverse range of manual therapy approaches, that are used for spinal and peripheral joints such as the foot, ankle, knee and shoulder. Later, the course looks at the vertebral spine, including the cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine, ribs and sacroiliac joints. In both areas, mobilisation and manipulation techniques are taught. Other aspects of sports physiotherapy covered might include muscle imbalance, deep dynamic myofascial techniques, trigger points, soft tissue and sports massage, sports taping and therapeutic taping techniques, stretching and exercise regimens. At Curtin,   there is also the opportunity to attend surgery related to sports problems, which expands  students' appreciation of the clinical implications in devising specific treatment and rehabilitation programs.  

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Currently, there is a demand for postgraduate trained Sports Physiotherapists and students that have taken courses with a holistic musculoskeletal approach work in diverse areas of clinical practice. For example, many graduates hold key positions in Sports Medicine/ Physiotherapy both overseas, interstate and locally, and have represented their countries at world championships and the Olympic Games. When it comes to making your final decision on where to study, there is no substitute for  information. Write, email, fax or call the relevant institutions and ask for information. Find out which courses are available, when they start, how long they take, how many contact hours are required, and whether both part-time  and full-time courses are available. Don't forget to ask about costs-the courses need money, so be prepared. Talk to colleagues who have done or are doing the course, and find out how much work is involved and whether the pain is worth the gain. It is worth remembering that all post- graduate courses require a commitment, and in order to actually complete the course, and enjoy it in the process you may need to reduce your hours of paid employment.

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CONTACT

Jo Crothers

Division of Health Sciences

Curtin University

GPO Box U1987

Perth WA  6845

Australia

Phone: 61 8 9266 3970

Fax:  61 8 9266 2608

E Mail: international@curtin.edu.au

Website: healthsciences. curtin.edu.au