A sports physical therapist is a highly trained health care professional trained to work with patients who have suffered debilitating injuries from sporting events. They are trained to work with a wide variety of athletes, both male and female, ranging from the adolescent through the retiree. A Sports Physical Therapist primary goal following on the field assessment is the rehabilitation of the injured athlete to assist with return to their prior level of competition. Sports such as golf, tennis, baseball, soccer, swimming, bowling, especially in the aging athlete can produce major health problems with acute injury or over an extended period of time. A sports physical therapist specializes in sports medicine and techniques that will help athletes with the rehabilitation of their injuries. There are a number of different ways that these professionals go about this task.
A Sports Physical Therapist works to evaluate various components of movement with their patients and how that affects their sports related injury. Restricted movement, muscle strains, broken bones and other types of other injuries can limit an athlete from competing. The Sports Physical Therapist will evaluate several different components of both the athlete and their specific sport when designing the rehabilitation plan for return to sport. They assess strength, range of motion, balance, posture, flexibility, mechanics, coordination, endurance and mobility and integrate individual deficits returning the athlete to the highest possible competitive level in their sport.
After evaluating the patient, a Sports Physical Therapist will design a treatment program that is appropriate for the injuries the athlete has sustained. Different injuries and different sports require different forms of rehabilitation. Some key components in a rehabilitation plan include education about the cause of the problem, modalities to reduce inflammation, blood flow and facilitate healing, and sport specific exercise to improve function and participation of the athlete. A sports physical therapist will use a variety of treatments to help a patient. Sport specific exercises are the key in most cases. Sports specific exercises are activities designed to improve range of motion, muscle strength, balance, endurance and coordination for return to sport. Obviously different sports require different exercises and activities to maximize return. A key error in the rehabilitation process is rehabbing an athlete in a general manor with general exercises and activities. This may result in a poor outcome with return to sport and potentially predispose the athlete to further injury upon return, a true injustice to the athlete. Sports rehabilitation should be performed or supervised by Certified Sports Therapist to assure return to sport. Aside from just exercise, a sports physical therapist may use massage, traction, heat or cold therapy, and specific taping techniques used to enhance function and return patient to sport.
Depending on the age, sex and method of injury and competitive level of the athlete some injuries may be serious than others. It is the function of the Sports Physical Therapist to assess the injury level and identify the individual needs of each athlete to minimize time away from sport and maximize return to previous competitive level. Once the injury has been identified and a treatment program has been designed, the athlete and the therapist meet on a regular basis for rehab. For example, a tennis player with a torn rotator cuff may visit the office of their Sports Therapist three times a week to perform muscle strengthening exercises, and sports related activities until they have returned to their previous competitive level. Depending on the severity of the injury, the sports therapist will determine the length of treatment, how long each session will last the intensity of the workouts, when the athlete needs to be progressed, and what activities are to be performed at home in between sessions.
Certified Sports Physical Therapists are licensed Physical Therapists that have studied and passed a higher level of education and an additional certification program consisting of on the field injury assessment and management. They have also been tested on a higher level of orthopedic management and sports specific rehab. All of this is to ensure that their athletes are assessed on the field appropriately, managed correctly throughout the rehabilitation process, which ensures maximal return to sport and function.
As individuals continue to push their lifespan, maintaining their quality of life is essential. We are staying more active and participating in the athletics we enjoy for longer periods. That means there will continue to be a growing need for Certified Sports Therapists to assist with return to sport and recreation following injury or surgery. Professional Rehabilitation Services, Inc. is a Private Practice Outpatient Physical Therapy Facility with two locations, Pawleys Island, and Surfside Beach; SC. established by Brian P. Kinmartin, [brian], in January 2004. The primary goal when establishing Professional Rehab was to assist our patient's rehabilitation needs by specializing in the field, thus raising the standard of care in the region.
Brian initially received his BS in Physical therapy in 1998 from Daemen College in New York, followed by a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in 2004 from the University of St. Augustine. He has achieved a specialty certificate in Manual Therapy, including manipulation of the spine and extremities, has completed the Master's sequence in High Velocity Low Amplitude thrust manipulation techniques for the spine from the University of Tulsa, is a board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, has earned his Competency at Emory University in Vestibular Rehabilitation, and most recently acquired his Sports Therapy Certification through the National Athletic and Sports Medicine Institute. Brian has been practicing in the Horry/Georgetown County for more than 13 years now.
For further information on this topic you can contact Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, STC, CWcHP, Cert. DN, (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. SHT, CWcHP, Cert DN (Surfside) (843) 831-0163 at Professional Rehabilitation Services, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com.