Who is a Sports Scientist?

Who is a sports scientist?

Are you interested in medicine but you don’t always want to treat illness? Sports and Exercise Science is one of the areas of Medicine that focus on preventing illness before they happen. This area is what is termed Preventive Health Care and the expert here is the Sports scientist, with different specializations. Sports and Exercise Science goes further to help athletes to improve their sports performance and prevent injuries. The secret tool in this profession is Appropriate Exercise and Nutrition.

A Sports Scientist gives expert advice and support to athletes and coaches to help them understand and improve sports performance by using evidence-based, quality-assured practices to analyze and develop effective training and competition methods.

The study of Sports Science has been given different names such as Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, or Sports and Exercise Science. The only difference in these Sports Science programs is the program structure or the course contents. Many Ghanaian and African Universities offer sports science degree programs, both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Sports Science in Ghana and Africa
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History of Sports Science and first Sports scientist

The origins of sports science can be traced back to ancient Greece. Galen (131–201), a well-known ancient Greek physician, published 87 extensive articles on how to improve one’s health (correct nutrition), cardiovascular fitness, and muscle strength (Berryman Jack & Park Roberta, 1992).

Have you ever heard or read this quote before?

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”.

Hippocrates 460 BCE – 375 BCE

Do you have any idea who said it? It sounds like something out of the mouth of the US surgeon general or one of the fitness experts on reality TV. Maybe it’s something you’d find in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report?

Hippocrates, who died around 375 B.C., is the source. It may be one of the earliest references to what we now call exercise science. According to The College Board’s summary of the topic, exercise science has its roots “in the physical-culture movement of the 1800s.” The purpose was to enhance working-class health via dance and sports.


What is Sports Science?

Sports science, often known as exercise science, is a combination of many disciplines that focuses on the fundamental principles that underpin exercise performance. From cellular to a whole-body view, sports science investigates how the healthy human body functions during exercise. Also, sports science looks at how sport and physical activity enhance health and performance.

Physiology (exercise physiology), psychology (sport psychology), anatomy, biomechanics, biochemistry, and biokinetics are all disciplines of sports science. With the ever-increasing focus within the sporting world on attaining the greatest results possible, sports scientists and performance consultants are seeing an increase in demand and job numbers. Researchers have gained a better understanding of how the human body reacts to exercise, training, varied settings, and a variety of other stimuli thanks to the scientific study of sport.

Sports Science
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Skills and interests needed to become a sports scientist

  • a passion for sports
  • to be in good physical shape
  • to have good communication and teamwork skills
  • a grasp of scientific concepts and an appreciation for them
  • thorough knowledge of human anatomy; 6. strong analytical and organizational abilities.

What is the role of a sports scientist?

  • As part of a healthcare team responsible for a sporting club’s or squad’s wellbeing, analyze athletes and devise a program for them.
  • evaluate and analyze elite athletes’ training regimens
  • keep track of individual or group progress and make adjustments as needed
  • provide injury prevention advice
  • assist patients who are in the midst of a rehabilitation procedure
  • Participate in research projects
  • and provide advice on the design of sporting goods.
Performance Analysis
Performance Analysis for Athletes

Working conditions and hours of a Sports Scientist


Sport and exercise scientists work with a variety of organizations, including sporting clubs, sports academies and institutes, medical practices, the military, and sporting equipment manufacturers. In most cases, you’d work in a consulting room, but you may also work in research labs or at sporting events.

Hours of work

You would work a regular number of hours per week as a sport and exercise scientist, which would most likely include weekends and/or evenings. You would work on game or match days if you worked for a sports team or club.

Sports Science Degree

Most universities will require prior knowledge in a science, preferably biology or chemistry, to gain admission to a sports science program.

Sports science is a relatively new discipline that rose to prominence in the final quarter of the twentieth century. It represents the seriousness with which sports and fitness are handled nowadays. Physiology and biomechanics are used to measure what is happening in a sportsperson’s body; psychology is used to analyze the role of the mind in performance; nutrition is used to help athletes fuel their bodies properly, and business and sports management are used to understand the financial and operational aspects of the sports industry.

Universities that offer sports science in Africa

  1. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (GH)
  2. University of Cape Coast (GH)
  3. The University of Health and Allied Sciences (GH)
  4. The University of Free State (SA)
  5. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (SA)
  6. University of Johannesburg (SA)
  7. Stellenbosch University (SA)
  8. University of Pretoria (SA)
  9. Cape Peninsula University of Technology (SA)
  10. University of Kwazulu Natal (SA)

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