Football imposes enormous demands on the physique, which makes injury quite common among players. To provide aid for recovery from football injuries, each NFL team has a dedicated squad of specialized physical therapy specialists on board. Now let us look deeply into every aspect of careers in NFL physical therapy where we delve into what it entails and how much professional NFL physical therapists make.
Physical Therapy concerns itself with assisting patients to recover from injuries or disabilities. NFL physical therapy, however, is a customized form of treatment specializing in the needs of professional football players. It helps in diverse ways, such as increased mobility and flexibility, amplified strength and endurance, and much-welcomed relief from pain and inflammation, all contributing to better recovery, making it essential for their career.
This career is highly appreciated as it involves the special opportunity to work with some of the best athletes in the world. It also allows you the unique privilege to help these prestigious players recover from sporting injuries and again participate in doing what they love.
Physical therapists working within the NFL also have benefits consisting of impressive salaries and job security, which comes from the high demand for their specialized services.
To become a specialized NFL physical therapist, one must complete a bachelor’s degree, irrespective of one's subject area. However, relevant biology, anatomy, physiology and kinesiology courses would significantly set a good base.
Candidates should pursue graduate-level education with an accredited program certified by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program lasts an estimated three years, including classroom teaching and practical clinical experience under seasoned professionals leading towards obtaining industry competency standards.
Upon completing your graduate degree, proper licensing for practising as a physical therapist is required in the state where you want to work. This confirmation generally involves passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and fulfilling additional state-specific requirements.
Specializing as an NFL physical therapist requires experience in sports medicine, which could be gained by working with professional or amateur athletes or obtaining a sports physical therapy residency program certification.
Emergency medical care standards are relevant across healthcare, including NFL teams; therefore, certification displays readiness for emergencies that may arise at any time.
Additional potential qualifications include pursuing advanced qualification credentials such as sports physical therapy certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).
Now let us explain further what being an NFL occupational therapist entails, including assessing and recording patients' progress during their recovery journey.
This monitoring process comprises conducting initial evaluations, designing treatment plans, and tracking progress over time by physically recording patient developments.
Maintaining consistent injury management measures and rehabilitation procedures across all concerned parties related to play on the field calls for collaboration between NFL occupational therapists with front office personnel and coaching staff involved along with players assigned to them. Lastly, a crucial responsibility of an NFL physical therapist remains to restore fundamental athletic skills and abilities lost due to previous injury.
Designing personalized rehabilitation programs targeting specific weaknesses or injuries utilizing strength-building exercises underpins renewing mobility levels while bringing back flexibility gradually across different stages. To ensure athletes' safety and quick recovery, NFL physical therapists must possess technical expertise and be skilled in motivating them.
These professionals create specific routines for players that help them heal and return to the field as soon as possible.
Regarding earnings, numerous factors such as education, certifications, experience, specialized skills, and years spent in the field can impact a physical therapist's salary.
An NFL physical therapist's salary can range from $75,000 to over $150,000 annually, with a median salary of $89,440 as of 2019. However, only those who work for teams receive high salaries and prestige, while those at rehabilitation centers might get fewer opportunities.
On average, in the USA, sports physical therapists earn $76,905; their San Francisco counterparts earn substantially more than this figure, with an average total compensation of $115,081 – 50% above the country's average wage. Looking ahead to job prospects in this career field between 2019 and 2029 reveals that growth is projected at 18% by The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This forecast translates into an additional 47k employment opportunities being created.