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Guide to Sports Therapy in Hong Kong

Dealing with a niggling sports injury? Find out how sports therapy can help.
Last update:
13th June 2024
Reviewed by a licensed advisor
therapist massaging patient
therapist massaging patient
Dealing with a niggling sports injury? Find out how sports therapy can help.
Last update: 13th June 2024

What is sports therapy?

Sports therapy is a growing field of sports injury management for amateur and professional athletes alike. The two key aspects of sports therapy are injury prevention and rehabilitation.

According to the Society of Sports Therapists (SST), sports therapists use the principles of sports and exercise science to provide treatment and care to patients so they can return to optimal form for training, competition, or – in the case of professional athletes – work.

What is a sports therapist?

Sports therapists are not doctors, nor are they physiotherapists. They are health professionals who specialize in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Sports therapists may receive professional accreditation from the Society of Sports Therapists (SST) in the UK. To date, the Society has accredited over 30 bachelor's programmes, in addition to several masters programmes (the majority of which are based in the UK). Sports therapists may also receive accreditation from the Sports Therapy Organisation (STO), another British accrediting body.

In Hong Kong, the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEI) trains sports therapists through its program for the Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Sports and Recreation Management with a Specialisation in Sports Therapy. This program grants graduates the internationally recognized SST accreditation.

Sports therapists can be found in the fields of professional and recreational sports and at private and public clinics. A sports therapist might work with a national women’s football team to help injured athletes safely and sustainably return to optimal performance levels for competition while minimizing their chances of re-injury. Or they might work at a private clinic working with amateur and elite long-distance runners. Or they might provide pitchside care during an international rugby match.

Who is sports therapy for?

Sports therapy is for athletes engaging in all levels of sports, whether professional or recreational, who are dealing with chronic or acute injuries.

What to expect at a sports therapy session

For your sports therapy sessions, you will want to wear comfortable workout clothing (T-shirt and shorts) and sneakers. Sports therapy sessions may run from 30 minutes to an hour, based on the treatment plan. How often you attend sports therapy sessions and for how long depends on your injury, progress, and treatment plan.

If it’s your first session, the sports therapist will likely also spend some time reviewing your case, examining the area that’s giving you issues, asking you questions about your injury or the pain you are experiencing, and discussing a possible treatment plan.

Treatment plans may involve strength and conditioning, functional rehabilitation, manual therapy, soft tissue therapy (sports massage), stretching, and so on.

Your sports therapist will work with you to assess when you are ready to return to action.

Sports therapy vs. physiotherapy

Sports therapy and physiotherapy are not the same. Although many physiotherapy clinics specialize in therapy for athletes, it is a different field with separate accreditation.

Does health insurance cover sports therapy?

Health insurance providers in Hong Kong generally do not cover sports therapy. 

However, sports-focused physiotherapy may be covered by insurance (remember that your insurer may require a physiotherapy referral from a doctor). Treatment for injury arising from participation in professional sports is not covered by most health insurance plans, regardless of the type of treatment sought (for example, surgery or physiotherapy).


How long does sports therapy take?

Sports therapy sessions generally run from 30 minutes to an hour. The number of sessions a patient undertakes depends on their injury, treatment plan, and progress.

How is sports therapy done?

A sports therapist treats the patient’s injury with a variety of methods, such as strength and conditioning, functional rehabilitation, manual therapy, soft tissue therapy (sports massage), stretching, and so on.

What does a sports therapist do?

A sports therapist is a health professional who treats injured athletes so that they can return to sport.

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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.