Specialising in Sport Rehabilitation

Tom Bennett is a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader on the MSc in Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation and the MSc Sport Rehabilitation and Therapy courses at AECC University College.

He tells us more about the two courses, what they cover and the kinds of applicants that they attract. He also reflects on what differentiates Sport Rehabilitation as a profession from Physiotherapy:

“At AECC University College, we offer an MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration) course and an MSc Sports Rehabilitation course, so it’s really useful for prospective applicants to understand the difference.

“The two fields are similar, in that some of their remits overlap, but they are two distinct career pathways.

“A Sport Rehabilitation practitioner is an autonomous musculoskeletal practitioner who specialises in injury or health, typically outside of the NHS. Physiotherapists typically begin their career within the NHS and work across a number of different aspects of healthcare.

“In the sporting world now, a Sports Physiotherapist would be the person that you see running onto the pitch on the TV. They perform the initial assessment and identify if further investigation is required. If the player was facing an extended period of rehabilitation, the rehabilitation therapist would take over here.

“The two roles are often compared, but the roles are actually so different.”

MSc Sport Rehabilitation and Therapy

“Our MSc Sport Rehabilitation and Therapy course is pre-registration, which means applicants need to have gained a health science degree.  Upon graduating from this course, you are eligible to join the British Association of Sports Rehabilitators and Trainers (BASRAT) – the professional standards body that regulates the Sport Rehabilitation profession.

“This pathway offers graduates the opportunity to specialise in Sport Rehabilitation. We usually (but not exclusively) see applicants who have graduated from undergraduate sport and exercise science programmes. They want to specialise in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and/or health.

“These undergraduate programmes give you a really broad understanding of different sport-related areas and often include elements of Psychology, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Performance Analysis.

“We also see applicants from a strength and conditioning background, who are looking to broaden their knowledge in dealing with different musculoskeletal conditions. The remit of these applicants has generally been in performance, exercise and training design – and not necessarily around injured populations.

“These applicants have an understanding of the general principles around exercise and Psychology. A couple of years’ experience in exercise is also really beneficial. Applicants might have worked as a Personal Trainer, or in a gym – although this isn’t a prerequisite.”

MSc Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation

“This is a very different course, although some of the teaching is done concurrently with the MSc Sport Rehabilitation and Therapy course.

“This postgraduate course is for existing healthcare practitioners who want to come back into education, or broaden their knowledge and understanding of very specific areas. They might, for example, be a Physiotherapist who graduated eight years ago. They’ve been working in their own clinic, doing some CPD, but haven’t had time to engage properly with what is currently best practice in rehabilitation.

“They might also be looking to gain a new area of interest, for example we teach Cardiac Rehabilitation as part of our programme. Students might choose to broaden their current practice by picking up new specialisms like these.

“This course is generally for mid-stage career professionals, looking to upskill themselves and re-visit their education to broaden their knowledge and understanding.”

Career prospects

“The career prospects in rehabilitation now are absolutely massive. We are seeing a real move in healthcare towards a focus on prevention and the role of the rehabilitation professional in community-based treatment.

“Tackling long Covid is a great example of this. As a Rehabilitation Therapist, I’m going to be involved, along with my students, in the roll-out of a long Covid rehabilitation programme that AECC University College is implementing.

“Rehabilitation in the community sense is much bigger now than it ever used to be. The career pathways that lead to being involved in the longevity in health and addressing the ageing population and keeping that population healthier for longer.”

Rehabilitation Centre

AECC University College recently received planning approval to create a state-of-the-art Integrated Rehabilitation Centre and consulting rooms on our new Garnet Campus in Boscombe.

Our Integrated Rehabilitation Centre will bring much-needed capacity for physical rehabilitation services in Boscombe and Bournemouth East. It will be aimed towards serving local patients who would usually seek help from their GPs and other local providers for treatments such as physiotherapy, cancer and stroke rehabilitation, falls and frailty and other common rehabilitation services.

You can find out more here.

You can read more about Tom Bennett and his career here.