Physical Therapies for Sport

Physical Therapies for Sport         
Prepared by  Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: August 2017
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Physical Therapies includes both physiotherapy and soft tissue therapy. Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that assesses, diagnoses, treats, and works to prevent disease and disability through physical means. Physiotherapists are experts in movement and function who work in partnership with their patients, assisting them to overcome movement disorders, and prevent, treat and rehabilitate injuries. Soft tissue therapy assesses, treats and manages soft tissue injury, pain and dysfunction, primarily of the neuromuscular skeletal system. Massage is the most common form of soft tissue therapy.


  • Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is the peak body representing the interests of Australian physiotherapists and their patients.
  • Massage & Myotherapy Australia is a brand of the Australian Association of Massage Therapists Limited (AAMT). It was formed in 2003 as a not-for-profit representative body for Massage, Remedial Massage and Myotherapy practitioners nationwide.
  • Massage Australia is a professional organisation that offers individual and business support for massage practitioners, students and associated people.



According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) there are a number of avenues for study in Australia to become a physiotherapist.  Physiotherapy programs are offered at many universities around the country. There are two principal degree programs:

  • A four-year bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy or Applied Science (Physiotherapy)
  • A graduate entry Masters program, which is a two-year accelerated program

The APA also provides information about career progression and specialisation as a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists can apply for the title of 'APA Sports Physiotherapist' on completing an academic (masters level course) or experiential pathway. Physiotherapists working with Australian Olympic teams are required to carry the 'APA Sports Physiotherapist' title.


To become a member of Massage & Myotherapy Australia or Massage Australia you must be currently enrolled in or hold one of the following TAFE or university qualifications:

  • Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice
  • Diploma of Remedial Massage
  • Advanced Diploma of Myotherapy
  • Advanced Diploma of Health Science (Soft Tissue Therapy)
  • Cert IV Musculoskeletal Therapy
  • Diploma of Musculoskeletal Therapy
  • Advanced Diploma of Musculoskeletal Therapy
  • Bachelor of Health Science (Musculoskeletal Therapy)
  • Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy) 
Data dictionary for the National Injury and Illness Database (2014, PDF  - 472.0 KB). Many sports and organisations have an established definition of injury and illness for the purpose of collecting epidemiology data. The National Sports Research Centre [Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)] and Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) undertook a similar process chaired by Professor Caroline Finch in 1997. The Australian Sports Injury Data Working Party developed minimum dataset collection criteria for sports injury. It has been 17 years since the results of the working party were released and this handbook will form part of an updated registry of collection requirements and recommendations. The capability and usability of electronic data capture methods have changed significantly in this period, however a need to have consensus of the definitions of terminology with consistent methodology in Australian National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) still exists.

Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.


Cochrane Reviews

  • Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. They are published online in The Cochrane Library.

Electronic journals


  • PEDro is the Physiotherapy Evidence Database. PEDro is a free database of over 22,000 randomised trials, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy. 

Clearinghouse Videos 

Please note a number of the resources below (as indicated) are restricted to ‘GOLD' AIS Advantage small AIS Advantage members only.
Please see the Clearinghouse membership categories for further information.


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