Euro 2016 semi-final. Portugal Vs. Wales. Cristiano Ronaldo’s deadly header in the 50th minute puts Portugal in the lead. A superhuman effort that defined his status as one of the best in the business. But why? Look at the stats. Height of header: 8 ft. 7 inches. Height of the leap: 2 ft. 6 inches. Time in the air: 0.85 secs. Speed of header: 44.3 miles per hour. Such moments don’t come out of thin air. It’s the tough exercise regimen honed by the science of pushing human endurance to unimaginable levels that make such magic moments possible in sports. As the margins get blurred between professional sports and commercialisation, a new area of study - Exercise & Sports Sciences - tries to capitalise on the new-found need to make sportspersons realise their maximum potential. Though it is gaining ground, only a few institutions in India offer BSc (Exercise & Sports Sciences). However, it has better traction abroad.
What is it all about?
Exercise & Sports Sciences is all about exploring the factors influencing sport performance and strategies to improve them. This interdisciplinary field also teaches about the complex nature of human movement and how human body responds to major injuries caused by recreational activity or any elite sport. It’s not just a traditional coach who was behind the success of the Indian cricket team that has won world championships in all formats of the game or tennis champ Serena Williams who has won 22 grand slams, including seven Wimbledon titles.
Others like psychologists, nutritionists, therapists and physios work as a team or as individuals to help the sportspersons excel in their chosen field. Their services could be for individuals or teams. In a way, all these professionals are associated with Exercise & Sports Sciences. According to industry lobby FICCI, there is a large gap between demand and supply in Sports and Physical Education and India will need 30,000 sports support personnel by the year 2017.
Name of the Course: BSc (Exercise & Sports Sciences)
Duration: 4 years
Eligibility: Physics, Chemistry & Biology with minimum 50% marks in aggregate at 10+2
Fee: Rs. 2.5 lakhs at Manipal School of Allied Health Sciences. Rs. 50,000 per year at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai
Top Institutes in India: Manipal School of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University (BSc/MSc); Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai (BSc); Department of Sports Sciences (Punjabi University), Patiala (MSc)
Top Institutes abroad: University of Leeds, University of Edinburgh, University of Durham, The University of Queensland
Job Profiles: Exercise Physiologist, Sports Development Officer, Sports Nutritionist, Sports Therapist, Sports Scientist
Duration & Eligibility
The 4-year course is offered at Manipal School of Allied Health Sciences (Manipal University) and Sri Ramachandra University (Chennai). The course structure incorporates 6 months to 1-year of internship at sports organisations. If you have passed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry & Biology, you are eligible to apply for the course.
Once you complete the undergraduate degree successfully, you can either opt for a job or go for postgraduate course in the same subject, offered at Manipal School of Allied Health Sciences or at the Department of Sports Sciences (Punjabi University), Patiala.
What do you study?
Physiology, biomechanics and psychology are three main important components of BSc (Exercise & Sports Sciences). Physiology deals with the reaction of human body to exercise and proper training. Biomechanics examines the causes and effects of muscular movement and body’s response to various exercise equipment. Psychology studies human mind in terms of sports and exercise settings. This branch also prepares students for managerial and coaching careers.
Exercise Physiologist: Provide scientific support in monitoring training of athletes in a single sport or several spots; either to individuals or teams.
Sports Development Officer: Ensure community awareness about sports activities and open avenues for their participation.
Sports Coaches: Work closely with professional sportspeople, sports teams and community teams to improve their performance in their respective sport.
Sports Nutritionist: Advise athletes and sportsperson on how diet can optimise their performance and recovery from injury.
Sports Therapist: Focus areas are -- recognising, managing, preventing and treating the injuries of players.
Sports Administrator: Responsible for smooth running of a sports organisation, including organising events.
Sports Scientist: Help people improve their sports performance and general health; work alongside sports coaches and sports therapists to assess individuals and teams.
With a master’s degree one can expect a salary of Rs. 50,000 per month. Depending on the specialization your salary can increase further. Health experts in established sports fields like cricket and badminton are expected to draw up to Rs. 2 lakhs per month.
So, if you have a die-hard interest in sports and want to contribute to India’s success in the field, then don’t go for a second thought on pursuing this programme. Good luck!
Fiddy Davis J
Associate Prof & Head Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences Manipal University
A hiring spree in the offing
Careers360: How do you see sports education’s growth and impact in India?
Fiddy Davis J: It is, in a nascent stage, but it could not have started at a better time than now. I consider, absence of scientific training and the absence of a scientific support system as the chief culprit for India’s poor show at London Olympics. A degree in Sport and Exercise science will help our country in capacity building by addressing the dearth of qualified, home-grown professionals who can contribute to Indian sport.
Careers360: How can we make this programme more robust in India?
Fiddy Davis J: Involving all the stakeholders (athletes, parents, coaches, managers, other support staff, faculty – national/international, etc.) during the preparation of the curriculum is important. Periodically assessing the requirements of the sports industry and revising the curricular structure will make sure that the graduates are job-ready at any point of time. Finally, professionals/institutes should be entrusted to run the programme to ward off commercial interests.
Careers360: What is the hiring trend?
Fiddy Davis J: Graduates can take up positions like athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, exercise physiologists or biomechanists, available with a few premier organisations in select sports. Once the competency of these professionals get noticed by the rest of organizations, they will be handpicked for such positions. I foresee sports organizations to go on a hiring spree in the next few years.
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