How much does an exercise physiotherapist earn

Sports Physiotherapist - More Than a Physiotherapist?

What is sports physiotherapy?

Sports physiotherapy combines prevention and rehabilitation - always with the athlete in mind. Due to the special target group, sports physiotherapists often work with amateur and even top athletes. You design rehabilitation plans so that injured athletes can find their way back to their old strength during training and competition. And as a sports physiotherapist, you also play an important role in prevention.

In an interview, Chris Schantl told us exactly what the everyday life of a sports therapist looks like.

Chris Schantl is a sports physiotherapist and masseur. As a sports therapist, he works for the soccer club FK Austria Wien, among others. At the same time, he runs the sports physiotherapists practice together with other therapists and gives an insight into the work of a sports physiotherapist via Instagram and Facebook.

What are the fields of activity and tasks of a sports physiotherapist?

The tasks of a sports physiotherapist are diverse and can have different focuses depending on the field of activity.


Fields of activity

You can find a job as a sports physiotherapist here:

  • Rehabilitation centers and clinics
  • Olympic bases
  • Sports associations
  • societies
  • Insurance
  • Teaching at universities and training centers
  • (own practice
  • tasks

    As a sports physiotherapist

  • create rehabilitation and training plans.
  • accompany the athlete on the path of regeneration.
  • carry out measures accompanying the competition.
  • Sports physiotherapists - all-rounders at major events

    Chris Schantl reports that the tasks of a sports physiotherapist, especially at major events such as the Olympic Games or World Championships, go beyond normal everyday tasks. Therefore, as a sports physiotherapist, you should always have access to a large "tool case":

    “At major events, a sports physiotherapist must be available 24 hours a day and have a good command of many activities. Therefore, a sports physiotherapist should also have very good skills in sports massage or first aid, for example. Even further training in sports psychology does no harm in order to be able to look after the athlete in the best possible way during a competition. "

    Sports physiotherapist - part of a multi-professional team in the club

    In contrast to major events, you have a well-trained and multi-professional team around you in everyday club life. This opens up new perspectives for the regeneration of athletes and the work of sports physiotherapists, says Chris Schantl:

    “Working with masseurs and other sports physiotherapists is particularly important here, as the athlete wants and should be fit again quickly. Fortunately, the club has the time to work with the injured athlete for several hours a day. This enables more intensive care and can thus positively support wound healing. "

    Nevertheless, there is a lot of pressure at the club level, reports Chris Schantl. After all, the management wants to run a successful association. The sports manager therefore often exerts pressure on the trainer, who in turn passes the pressure on to the sports physiotherapist. Ultimately, it is often the athlete who suffers. Chris Schantl therefore wishes "A good and, above all, appreciative cooperation of all these departments."

    The basketball players at FC Bayern are also professionally cared for by physiotherapists. In this video you can see insights into the screening of athletes, an everyday task in the club:

    Sports therapy in a private practice

    Sports physiotherapy in a private practice poses completely different challenges than in a club, reports Chris Schantl:

    “Here you not only look after competitive athletes, but also recreational athletes. The time is usually limited to 60 minutes and you don't see the athlete every day. The majority of our patients, of course, have a full-time job or a degree in addition to sport and therefore cannot invest the same time and costs as competitive athletes. "

    For the sports physiotherapist, this means creating targeted rehabilitation plans so that the athlete can quickly regain fitness despite the lack of time.

    What is the difference between sports physiotherapists and physical therapists?

    Sports physiotherapists primarily differ from classic physiotherapists in their target group. Chris Schantl explains:

    "To be able to run a marathon again or to take part in the Olympic Games requires different stress stimuli for the injured structure than the way to a grocery store."

    A competitive athlete who has to cope with more than everyday physical exertion is therefore in the best of hands with a sports physiotherapist. In general, Schantl advises all patients to consult a physiotherapist who specializes in the required sub-area, for example sports, neurology or pulmonology (lung medicine). Because "This means that the patient benefits much more from the therapy."


    As an aspiring sports physiotherapist, what should I bring with me?

    Before you take up the profession of sports physiotherapist, you should ask yourself: Does the profession suit me? We have listed a few qualities for you as a sports physiotherapist.

    No fear of contact

    As a sports physiotherapist you have to loosen muscles again and again or help the patient with the movement sequences. It is therefore important that you do not have any reservations.

    Social competence in dealing with patients

    You should also have no fear of contact in social contact with patients. A prolonged injury can be depressing, especially for competitive athletes. A sure instinct is required here.

    Interest in sports medicine content

    In addition to training, the curriculum for prospective sports physiotherapists also includes sports medicine content such as nutrition in sports and anti-doping or anatomy and sports medicine examination methods. If you want to take up this profession, you should therefore definitely be interested in these topics. Theoretical knowledge in this area is your tool for everyday professional life.

    How do I become a sports physiotherapist?

    Are you enthusiastic about this job and now the only question left is how to become a sports physiotherapist? We have the answer for you.

    The occupation of sports physiotherapist is further training. You therefore need a completed training to

  • Physiotherapists,
  • Masseur or
  • medical lifeguards.
  • Building on this, you can then continue training to become a sports physiotherapist.

    Master's degree in sports physiotherapy

    M.Sc. Complete sports physiotherapy. You need one for admission

  • Proof of a completed degree (at least 180 ECTS points).
  • Proof of physical therapy training (vocational training or studies with a permit to work).
  • Proof of professional experience in physiotherapy (at least 1 year).

    If you meet all the requirements, you can apply for the course.

  • Further training to become a sports therapist

    A sports physiotherapist is also known as a sports therapist. You can qualify for the profession of sports therapist not only by continuing education to become a sports physiotherapist, but also by studying sports science. The Sport University Cologne, for example, offers the M.A. Rehabilitation, prevention and health management.

    This is followed by further training as a sports therapist at the German Association for Health Sports and Sports Therapy (DVGS).


    Further training to become a DOSB sports physiotherapist

    Would you like to apply as a sports physiotherapist for the Olympic Games or the DFB team? Then you need the "DOSB Sports Physiotherapist" license. Before doing this, you must complete the basic course with a licensed provider of the DOSB.

    Physiotherapist Patrick Hoyler, for example, completed this training and then worked at the Junior Olympics (from minute 5:31):

    What do I earn as a sports physiotherapist?

    The starting salary for physiotherapists, according to, looks like this:

  • with an apprenticeship: 21,500 to 23,500 euros gross annual salary
  • with a degree: EUR 24,000 to 30,000 gross annual salary
  • In a ranking by Spiegel Online it becomes clear: despite studying, sports therapists earn comparatively little. The profession occupies with 31,800 euros Gross annual salary ranks second among the worst paid professions after a university degree.

    Fascination sports physiotherapy

    The exciting thing about the profession of sports physiotherapist is the cooperation with the athletes. Chris Schantl says about his job:

    “I see the fascination of the job every day when I work with my patients. So much is possible through exercise physiotherapy. Milestones in rehab, for example when the athlete starts running again or makes the first jumps after a serious knee injury, and the joy and gratitude of the athletes for such things - that always makes the work special. "

    The different sports also make the job very varied, says Chris Schantl:

    “Just think how many sports there are. Each sport has different priorities that must be observed in rehab. A footballer has different requirements than a skier. You can therefore never work according to a standard method. "

    The sports business is not only exciting and varied in sports physiotherapy. There are many more interesting jobs in this industry. Take a look at the job of training scientist who works closely with sports physiotherapists.

    Picture credits: Cover picture: © gettyimages / Cecilie_Arcurs, picture 1: © Chris Schantl, picture 2: © Chris Schantl, picture 3: © Chris Schantl, picture 4: © gettyimages / Giorez, picture 5: © gettyimages / busracavus, picture 6: © gettyimages / FG Trade