Sports Physical Therapist Job Description, Duties, and Responsibilities

By | October 26, 2023
Sports Physical Therapist Job Description
Sports physical therapists also apply electrostimulation procedures on injured tissues to aid healing.

This post provides detailed information on the sports physical therapist job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may be expected to fulfill to be hired for the sports physical therapist role by most employers/recruiters.

What Does a Sports Physical Therapist Do?

A sports physical therapist is responsible for helping both professional athletes and students avoid sporting or activity induced injuries, and to rehabilitate them when they sustain injuries.

The physical therapist job description entails diagnosing problems and evaluating patient progress on treatment plan to ensure restoration of athlete’s optimal function, and even to achieve improved performance in their sports.

Sports physical therapists are professionals such as medical doctors, athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. who have acquired high levels of training in fields like prevention, management, recognition and evaluation, referral, treatment, rehabilitation, and professional practice and education.

They work closely with primary care doctors who are specialist in sports medicine, as well as with orthopedic surgeons in evaluating a patient’s injury and creating a treatment plan that help them return to sporting activities.

They are an essential part of a sports club’s medical team to help athletes and players overcome injuries of the muscle, ligament, tendon, and joint that may occur during an event or game.

The sports physical therapist role is to help athletes reduce pain when they are struck with pain or over exertion of muscles, and to regain complete mobility and get back to their sporting event better and stronger.

They combine good knowledge of exercise science with physiology in providing effective treatment plans to their patients, employing techniques, including massages, muscle stretches, core stability training, and electrotherapy.

Before the start of treatment on a patient, the physical therapist will carry out series of functionality tests whereby the athlete mimics the movements and skills normally employed in their sport in completing various exercises and routines.

While watching closely, the physical therapist takes note of any indication of the athlete’s areas of weakness and uses the information to create his/her treatment plan.

As part of their work description, sports physical therapists build a specific treatment plan unique to a patient based on information extracted from the weaknesses observed from the series of tests earlier administered.

The treatment plan will also consider the specific sport the athlete is involved in and the parts of their body they felt pain.

Their duties also involves performing massages on athletes after a game or intense practice or exercise session to reduce pain, as well as to prevent muscle fatigue.

They also help their clients to avoid injuries by providing them with a set of exercises and tools that boost muscle strength and endurance, thereby preventing future tissue damage.

Sports Physical Therapist Job Description Example/Template

Sports physical therapists perform various functions in ensuring that athletes who have been injured are effectively treated and rehabilitated to return to their game stronger and better.

The job description example shows major duties, tasks, and responsibilities that commonly make up the role of a sports physical therapist:

  • Carry out a complete physical therapy evaluation on patients to determine the effect of sport injury on their mobility, function, and strength, and then create an effective treatment plan
  • Educate client on ways to reaching their realistic mobility goals
  • Perform traditional physical therapy exercises on patients
  • Assist patients in reaching complete restoration of range of movement, appropriate biomechanics, and strength
  • Perform dry needling on patients, which is a procedure that involves no medication or injection in treating pains and muscle tightness and restriction in patients – the procedure involves inserting a “dry” needle through the skin into the part of the muscle where pain or irritation has been observed
  • Perform manual therapy by use of hand in manipulating and mobilizing joints to reduce pain from tension, muscle spasm, and joint problem
  • Treat soft tissue injuries, including sprains, tendonitis, and strains by applying manual therapy – applying pressure to lengthen the tissue involved
  • Apply both manual techniques and selected exercises in restoring clients’ movement patterns and natural posture
  • Apply low power laser therapy on patient to stimulate injured tissue and enhance the healing process.

Requirements – Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities – for Sports Physical Therapist Role

If you are seeking to work as a sports physical therapist, here are major requirements, including skills and qualities most employers might want you to possess to qualify for an interview:

  • Knowledge of advanced physical therapy treatment procedures, such as dry needling, aquatic therapy, and concussion treatment
  • Possess physical therapy license
  • Possess athletic trainer certification and license
  • Possess sports physical therapy certification of the American Physical Therapy Association
  • Possess ability and expertise in the use of advanced equipment and latest techniques and tools, including dry needling and lasers
  • Possess bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from an accredited PT program and successfully completed the necessary internships
  • Ability to communicate effectively with patients, families, colleagues, and other professionals.


If you are an employer hiring for the sports physical therapist position in your company, the sample job description provided in this post will help you to quickly make one for your organization.

You will be able to create a detailed sports physical therapist description that perfectly captures the role in your organization, and with it you can attract the best qualified professionals to your organization.

Also, you will find this article beneficial if you are someone interested in the sports medicine career, particularly the field of sports physical therapy.

You will be able to improve your knowledge of the career from the duties and responsibilities of the role highlighted in this post.