Need Help Recovering from a Sports Injury? Looking to Improve Your Sports Performance?
Sports Therapy or sport physical therapy is a specialized area of physical therapy that deals with both acute, chronic, and repetitive injuries in professional, collegiate, high school and recreational athletes. Practice includes the thorough evaluation, treatment, transition back to sport, prevention, and performance enhancement programs.
Often, sports therapists work with post-surgical athletes to help them recover their strength, range of motion, and activities of daily living. To accomplish this sports therapy specialists use techniques such as:
- Manual Therapy - specialized hands-on techniques to facilitate movement, and functional control.
- Therapeutic Exercise - from active range of motion (simply working against gravity), to advanced resistance protocols, sports therapists help an athlete recover the necessary strength to compete in their given sport.
- Heat, ice, taping techniques, and electrical stimulation
- Functional Retraining - all sports require specialized balance, movement patterns, and dynamic flexibility and stability. Sports therapy includes retraining the athlete in their given area of interest or excellence. Examples include helping pitchers recover their throwing mechanics. Assisting football players in cutting, catching, throwing, and backpedaling. Helping basketball players recover the jumping, shuffling, and shooting mechanics.
- Dynamic Strength & Endurance Training - most sports require endurance, balance, and short burst of intense strength output. In the later stages of rehabilitation of athletes, sports therapists transition players to advanced conditioning programs that closely replicate their experience on the court or playing field.
- Aquatic Therapy
Sports therapists often provide interventions and recommendations to assist athletes with the prevention. This may include pre-participation evaluations, equipment advice, conditioning programs (e.g., ACL injury prevention) and cardiorespiratory conditioning programs that are constructed to assist athletes in a safe transition back to sport.
Sports Performance Programs
After a thorough evaluation of an athlete's strength, neuromuscular coordination, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness, the sports therapist will develop a sports performance training plan to help the athlete achieve their performance goals. Programs are tailored to specific sporting demands and provided to the athlete as a training regime (plan of action); or the sports therapist may coach and guide the athlete through a performance program on a several times/week basis again, depending on the athletes goals and needs.