What is Sports Physical Therapy?
Sports Physical Therapy is a specialized practice that focuses on prevention, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement of the physically-active individual.
The practice of sports physical therapy includes those interventions that assist the athletically-active individual in preventing injuries and then, if an injury occurs, continuing their pursuits with minimal disruptions. Areas of this practice include pre-participation screening, equipment recommendations, and cardiovascular fitness programs designed to assist in a safe and unremarkable return to activity.
Sports physical therapists are highly skilled in evaluation of active and chronic injuries. A hallmark of this practice is the assessment of surgical and non-surgical neuromusculoskeletal injuries. Included in this is the functional assessment of the individual post-injury to assist in a safe return to activity.
Treatment & Rehabilitation
Treatment and rehabilitation of neuromusculoskeletal injuries is at the center of sports physical therapy practice. In a team approach with physicians, the sports physical therapist designs and implements programs for the management of these disorders in clients of all ages and physical abilities, including those with physical disabilities as well as elite athletes.
Sports physical therapists assist athletically-active individuals to improve their performance in a variety of ways. The foundation of performance enhancement is provided by a thorough evaluation of the neuromusculoskeletal and the cardiovascular-pulmonary systems. The results of this evaluation are compiled to outline strengths and weaknesses in an individual’s physical profile. This profile can then be matched to the individual’s specific athletic activity. Areas of deficiency in flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, and in the aerobic/anaerobic systems can be outlined in a specific training regime. Follow-up evaluations can determine further training program changes.
Treatment and rehabilitation are constantly changing in response to our interpretation of the basic and clinical sciences. The sports physical therapist is a part of a team that is researching and implementing research findings to assist the athletically active individual in his or her pursuits.
Education of athletes and their parents and coaches about the various preventative and management techniques previously discussed is a service that sports physical therapists provide. Sports physical therapists are also involved in educating physical therapists, other allied health professionals, and physicians in these important areas.