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DPT with sports teams

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by ETR, May 8, 2010.

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  1. ETR

    ETR

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    I was wondering, what does the job of a PT that works with sports teams entail. Certainly it must be different than the traditional PT careers like home care, outpatient, and hospital settings. What is there job like? Do they receive a higher salary than normal PT's? Is there job a lot more grueling than PT's in other areas?


    Thanks
    ETR
  2. DancerFutureDPT

    DancerFutureDPT Pre-Med and Pre-Health Academic Advisor Moderator

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    I work for a company that provides PT to most of the professional Chicago sports teams and dance companies....it's an outpatient ortho clinic.

    For the most part, when the athletes are injured they come into the clinic to get treated, just like anyone else. Some PTs will provide coverage at events (I don't know about sporting events because I haven't witnessed them first hand, but I have shadowed PTs that are on-site at dance company rehearsals and performances). In the case of the dancers, they basically work on them before and during the show/rehearsal...things like working out tight muscles, mobilizations, etc. If there's a severe injury (like a fall, sprained ankle, etc.), they'll meet them backstage and give them ice or some manual work (I saw one PT give a male dancer a cuboid pop...that was cool)

    ...but for the most part, it's the ATCs that are giving on-site coverage at sporting events - they're trained in that first response to injury on the field much more than the PT is. It's my understanding that a PT that works for a sports team primarily rehabs them during the day like any other patient, maybe just paying special attention to what they do (like with dancers, using dance specific exercises). I could be wrong though.

    But keep in mind it's very hard to get into a position with a professional team...that's not usually an entry level position (even though we'd all love to do it).

    Hopefully that helps?
  3. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine

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  4. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    atstudent,
    That was a great inside look, thanks for that. I read this article a ways back and I have actually talked quite a bit with Jeff, who was the physical therapist/strength and conditioning coach for the New York Mets. Maybe it will be insightful as well:

    http://www.nitin360.com/physical-therapy-interview-star-physical-therapist-jeff-cavaliere.html

    However, like Jeff told me...The job becomes just like any other job after a few years. I think we all think it would be glamorous to work for MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL...but I'm not sure it lives up to the hype always. However it would be an awesome experience...I am shooting for it.
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  5. MinnDasota

    MinnDasota

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    Most PT's in that capacity also are an ATC. Those that aren't most likely are board certified sports specialists (SCS). I help cover events for the US Ski and Snowboard teams and had to have extensive emergency response training for a PT (however, not nearly close to what an ATC is required to have).

    Like stated before, most PTs with these elite teams work as rehab consultants and are mostly seeing these athletes in the clinic. On the field is only for the select few PTs with good acute injury management skills and tons of sports/ortho experience. It isn't impossible to be involved at that level as a PT but it's a lot of work and not as glamorous as it seems.
  6. Sjohn106

    Sjohn106

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    I volunteered at a clinic owned by an NFL team owner. They had a PT that traveled with them and worked privately with the team. He also had his own clinic. From what I understand they mostly endorsed his clinic and as the "official team PT" got a lot of really good business out of it and perks, but I don't think that he made that much money actually doing the work at the games on Sundays. He received a lot of perks and bonuses mostly, from what I understand. I don't think this is the case with every team, but it was for this one. They did have ATC's on staff as well.
  7. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    I guess my question is...why wouldn't you want a PT on staff to lend their expertise in rehab??? I understand ATC's can rehab athletes, but I'm sure PT's know more in manual therapy and long term care.

    Sure, you can just send you athlete to a PT clinic, but why not just have a PT right there at the stadium? Why not have everything under one roof for the athlete???

    I also think PT's do a better job at preventing injuries than ATC's....I think there's a place in the future for PT's on every ball team.
  8. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine

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    Can't wait for this explanation...
  9. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    I'm talking about all the pre-hab exercises, joint manipulation, decreasing imbalances, stretches etc.......not taping.
  10. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine

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    And the only part of that NOT covered in an athletic training program would be joint manipulation. Because as far as I know, that's not a part of our practice acts. Joint mobilization is, but joint manipulation is not. I spend almost as much time preventing injury as I do dealing with the injuries themselves.

    With PT's feeling they should be paid more and more with less work, sports teams will have a tough time hiring them. Yes, they work great in the big teams when they work alongside the team physicians, the athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches. But they will never be a stand-alone practitioner in a sports setting.
  11. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    Agreed.

    My point is PT's will have more and more places on professional teams, it won't be just ATC's and Strength Coaches. PT's have an expertise to bring to the table as well and at that level, owner's will do anything to gain an edge. Also, it makes much more sence to have all health services under one roof....not as consultants...unless it's a unique case such as a season ending injury.
  12. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine

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    And I agree with you PT's could play a great role in the sports realm. But the normal PT would not except in the case of season-ending injuries where they would deal with the "regular" rehabilitation. I don't know what kind of experience a PT gets in school for working with the athlete. I know from personal experience that a PT's focus is quite different from an athletic trainer's focus. And I've heard of a PT telling an athletic trainer that she couldn't correct one of the athlete's running because she didn't have experience or knowledge in that. She has 20+ years experience in PT and works daily with athletes. Obviously that's just one person, but it surprised me because I figured that was in PT school.

    I know many of the Major League teams have "rehab coordinators." Some are physical therapists, others are athletic trainers. Some are both. Some of these people work at the spring training facility in Arizona or Florida while others are in the home city of the organization. I'm not sure how many of the rehab coordinators travel with their team.
  13. truthseeker

    truthseeker Senior Member

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    I agree with atstudent. DPT will NEVER be the lead person on a sports team's medical unit. It will always be the ATC. The DPT is simply not important on the sideline in my opinion. The sideline requirements are for immediate, emergency management, return to participation decisions (often made with the team doc if there is one on site and often here, the team doc will defer to the ATC) and first aid/taping/padding/hydration issues etc . . .

    The training of the DPT, even one with sports clinical specialist credentials is just too far removed from the field of battle, as it were, to be of any use at the events. The appropriate use of the PT is as the rehab consultant and frankly, this is the population where good ATCs are on-par with average PTs. Athlete rehabilitation. I do believe that good PTs are better than all but the best ATCs when it comes to rehabbing an athlete, but in general, I would rather have the ATC on the sideline and the PT in the clinic.
  14. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    AT, you're right, they're typically called rehab directors. I can think of one off the top of my head, Mike Reinold for the Boston Redsox.

    I dissagree ^^^. I think the PT should be right there with the ATC's on the team. Again, all these services should be offered under one roof, not send them out to a clinic for their rehab. I'm only talking about the professional ranks here. I think there will be a listed staff PT on each an every pro team in the future. They will travel and work with the team directly.

    Also, why do you think big time strength and conditioning coaches are hiring PT's at their facilities...Mike Boyle, Mark Verstegen. JC Santana, and I know I've talked to Eric Cressey at Cressey Performance...he is looking to hire a PT. PT's bring a different look. By the way, I never said PT's should be stand alone....just that it will become more common to see PT's integrated within Pro teams.
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  15. atstudent

    atstudent Certified Athletic Traine

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    I don't know of one sports team that has it "all under one roof." I'd be interested to know which doctors work only for a sports team.

    Mike Reinhold is the Head Athletic Trainer for the Red Sox. I know he is also a PT with quite a bit of experience in sports. That's what is needed for a PT to work at that level.
  16. MJHUSKERS

    MJHUSKERS

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    He just became the Head AT this year, he was director of rehab for the Redsox before that.
  17. jesspt

    jesspt

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    As a PT, board certified in orthopaedics, I couldn't agree more. Please don't ask me to tape an ankle or shoulder or assess for dehydration, etc. Not within my comfort level, but I'm betting any ATC wouldn't think twice about it.
  18. DPTorMD

    DPTorMD

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    I just wanted to chime in because I spent the majority of my academic career trying to figure what was the best way to work with a sports team or just athletes in general. I got my ATC and I am graduating with my DPT this summer. I am here to to you that it would be certainly ideal for the employer to hire a dual credentialed clinician to work directly with their athletes. That goes the same for the clinician that has dual credentials. I also think that they are separate professions in health care and should be understood as such.
  19. mtm34

    mtm34

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    Pitt has a 2 year SCS residency that contracts you to be the primary PT for the steelers and the penguins... I have heard it is an awesome experience. You work in the university sports med center as well. Anyone know any other residencies or programs that do similar affiliations?
  20. markelmarcel

    markelmarcel

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    Dang, maybe I should've chosen Pitt afterall ;)
  21. MinnDasota

    MinnDasota

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    Most sports residencies offer something similar to this depending on location.

    2 year residency? Wow, the longest I knew of was Ohio State's and that was 18 months. Not sure if I could do 2 years on a resident salary, but I'm sure the experience is great.

    Also, FYI, most pro sports MDs don't just work for a sports team. It's more of a side job and usually they have to pay to be affiliated with a team. They usually spend most of their time at the hospital and in their own private practice. Same goes for PT practices that are affiliated with pro sports teams. They have to pay to have the designation to be the official provider. Even so, many of the players go elsewhere.

    I personally know many PTs that travel with an individual player (as needed) or with sports teams. Most are dual ATC PTs, some are PT SCS. I agree that ATCs are the most qualified to be out on the field due to their scope of practice and the amount of practical sideline experience; however, whatever the credential, that person better know what they're doing when working with athletes at the professional level. It's a completely different ball game vs recreational or high school athletes as we're talking about the player's livelihood and career.

    I think most well trained PTs (without the ATC and with the SCS) are prepared well enough to work the sidelines. However, the biggest concern that my colleagues and I see is when the PT can't take off the "rehab" hat when covering an event/game...manage what's going on now (acutely) and not the long term! Help the athlete manage the injury so he/she can get through the game properly, otherwise, save everything else for the clinic. As medical staff, on the sidelines is not the right time to talk about biomechanics unless you're the coach! Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

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