If you love helping people and sports, you should consider a career in sports injury nursing.
Unlike other nursing programs, choosing to become a sports injury nurse may prove
challenging, but ultimately rewarding. It provides an excellent opportunity for nurses who
enjoy attending to athletes and sports personnel.
Like other careers, there’s a lot you should know before deciding to become a sports
injury nurse. While you will primarily be tasked with preventing sports injuries and
helping athletes recover from injuries, there is more to this field. Below are a few things to
know about becoming a sports injury nurse.
How Can You Become a Sports Injury Nurse?
Becoming a sports injury nurse isn’t complicated. Unlike before, you can take advantage
of several entry points into this career. Registered nurses can take the easy route of direct
entry MSN programs that offer advanced training for qualified nurses. Those who are
starting out should follow this process:
● Get the right education
Sports injury nursing is a branch of orthopedic nursing. Unfortunately, there is no
specifically designed nursing program for sports nursing. You should have a bachelor’s
degree to specialize in this profession. You can enroll in MSN programs if you are an
already trained RN. Most sports injury nurses are qualified nurse practitioners.
Qualified NPs have the required knowledge and experience to diagnose various
musculoskeletal injuries and other conditions.
● Consider being certified
Seeking additional certifications is the other option for registered nurses who want to
switch to sports nursing. Important certifications for this specialty include orthopedic
nursing certification, exercise physiology/rehabilitation, kinesiology, and athletic training.
● Get relevant experience
Despite the surge in demand for sports injury nurses, few nursing programs support this
discipline. One of the best ways to stand out from others in the field is by acquiring
relevant experience. You can begin by working in the orthopedic unit as a nurse, treating
fracture patients, and those recovering from hip/joint replacement surgery.
You can also offer to work for an orthopedic physician to get some experience. If you don’t
prefer working in hospital environments, you can join those in sports to gain some
experience. For instance, you can offer your nursing services to a fitness center, become a
sports team nurse, or provide first aid during events.
What Do Sports Injury Nurses Do?
Sports injury nurses are specifically trained in providing care to athletes and individuals
with active lifestyles. They work with active individuals and athletes at all levels, including
professional and recreational, to prevent and treat sustained injuries. Sports nurses help
individuals with musculoskeletal injuries, such as torn ligaments, bone fractures, joint
strains, dislocations, and arthritis.
Sports injury nurses, just like physical therapists, can also work in hospital settings in various sectors. They prepare patients for surgeries, such as cartilage transplant, help surgeons during orthopedic surgery, and monitor patient recovery post-operatively. Nurses also educate patients
about the injury recovery process and prepare them for discharge.
Sports injury nurses form part of the entire sports medicine team, which includes athletic
trainers, physical therapists, psychologists, physicians, and other healthcare providers.
The team collaborates in assessing and treating injuries. They also develop effective injury
Where Do Sports Injury Nurses Work?
Sports injury nurses can work in various settings. Fitness centers can employ them to
provide medical advice beyond what fitness trainers provide to their clients. Sports nurses
also assess injuries and recommend the best exercise routines and lifestyle changes.
Other employment opportunities for sports injury nurses include;
● Sports teams
● Athletic facilities
● Orthopedic clinics
● Physical rehabilitation centers
● As self-employed fitness consultants
Health maintenance companies or company wellness programs can also employ sports
injury nurses. Most companies are looking for ways of maintaining their employees’ health
while minimizing medical bills. Nurses employed by such programs are primarily tasked
with preventing illness and disability.
Sports teams also hire sports injury nurses regularly. If you take a physical therapist job, you should be flexible to travel anywhere with the team. Once you acquire sufficient experience and the relevant certifications, you can become an entrepreneur by opening your health and wellness consultancy.
What are the Key Skills to Work as a Sports Injury Nurse?
Sports injury nursing doesn’t differ much from general nursing. Crucial skills that sport
injury nurses should possess include;
● Excellent communication skills – Sports injury nurses work with patients with
different injuries and personal needs. They should be adept at communicating to
help patients understand the diagnosis and the best treatment regimen.
● Organizational skills – You will be tasked with keeping track of patient files and
records. Simple tasks may prove challenging for a disorganized sports injury nurse.
● Ability to work under pressure – Sports injuries often occur in fast-paced
environments. You should remain calm and collected all through to provide
maximum care to your patients.
● Ability to work with a team – A sports injury nurse is part of a large athletic team.
The nurse should comfortably work with physical therapists, surgeons, and other
Is There a Demand for Sports Injury Nurses?
Before choosing a specialty in nursing, you should ensure that there are job opportunities
in your preferred specialty. Fortunately, the demand for sports injury nurses is on the
surge due to the increasing popularity and awareness of the importance of sports and
An increasing number of people currently engage in sports, exercise, and other physical
activities. This leads to a corresponding increase in the number of injuries and the demand
for more skilled healthcare professionals who can treat these injuries.
The increase in demand for sports injury nurses is also attributed to an increase in the
aging population. Advancing age leads to age-related conditions, such as arthritis. Sports
nurses can care for such people and other orthopedic conditions associated with aging.
Lastly, the growing trend towards adopting healthy lifestyles also contributes to an
increase in demand for sports injury nurses. More people actively participating in
exercises means more nurses are required to help this population embrace a healthy
lifestyle. Besides treating injuries, nurses prevent injuries by educating and supporting
these individuals to make positive choices.
Sports injury nursing is a valuable specialty for interested nurses who want to attend to
injured athletes or prevent long-term injuries. Choosing this specialty and having the right
skills opens up many fulfilling working opportunities.
Click here for full podcast playlist.