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A Complete Guide To Sports Physical Therapy

Every professional athlete requires a PT to help them stay on top of their game. And also to assist in any injury encountered or help prevent one from happening. A doctor may recommend physical therapy after sustaining an injury such as a sprain or strain.

Every school should have a sports physical doctor to be there for the children in case of an injury strikes. And you may be having questions regarding physical therapy, such as what to expect and when to have it. We’ve got you. Continue reading to enlighten yourself on everything about sports physical therapy. 

What Is Sports Therapy?

It’s a treatment that physical therapists focus on athletes. These specialists have athletic training background and a deeper understanding of biomechanics and exercise science. All these are critical for preventing and rehabilitating sports-related injuries. 

A therapist can create a unique treatment plan specific to an athletics-specific sport. Based on the analysis, the specialist’s plan will consider physiology, movement, strengths or weakness, and risk of injury. Then he can tailor the therapy to involve position-specific exercises that will help improve the patient’s movement. 

Evaluation And Assessment

Sports evaluation starts at an early stage when children start to go to school, where they will learn and participate in sports. They can get it from a medical provider, who checks if the young one is fit to play school games. Most schools in the US require school physicals from the students before enrolling them in schools. 

What they check

  • If the child is in good health
  • They measure the maturity of your body
  • Find out if you currently have injuries
  • Measure the patient’s physical fitness
  • If the patient has any pre-existing conditions that could be prone to injury. 

Other Tests include

A physical exam may appear similar to your annual check-up. Though it’s like your usual check-up, it focuses more on body areas directly involved in playing sports. So, the main focus is on your joints, heart, bones, and lungs health. A PT will:

  • Test your vision
  • Check your weight and measure your height
  • Measure your height and weight
  • Check your pulse and blood pressure
  • Ears, nose, throat, and other significant organs such as heart, lungs, and belly. 
  • Check your posture, flexibility, joints, and strength.  

A provider may also offer advice on how individuals can protect themselves from an injury while playing a sport, even those who might have a chronic illness such as asthma, to learn how to play safely. He may recommend a change in medicine, which may help control possible reactions during the sports games.

Athlete’s Evaluation  

Evaluation for experienced athletes is different from the school physical. It requires a board-certified sports therapist who creates a plan of action for the athlete. His evaluation may include pain assessment to check if there is current pain. And if it’s there, the therapist finds the underlying cause of the pain. Then he will give a diagnosis for treating it.

A PT assesses the body areas prone to stress during specific sports movements. So, if the sport requires jumping and stress to the knee, this is the area the physical therapist will be looking at closely for signs of weakness. It could lead to injury, and that’s crucial to assess the biomechanics of individual athletes. After a sports physical doctor manages the pain, he may also perform a functional and mobility test to determine where the weakness is and how to improve it. 

Physical therapists are certified so that they can treat various sports-related diagnoses. And this helps to meet an athlete’s individual needs. 

Sports Physical Therapy

Physical therapists may perform various interventions to prevent and treat sports injuries. And such therapies may include:

Pre-participation screening – first, the PT will assess the athlete and look for any issues that may lead to an injury.

Educate: essential programs that a sports physical doctor can teach an athlete include; resistance, endurance, cardiovascular, including neuromuscular re-education exercise programs. These and more can help improve a player’s wellness and performance.

Taping and bracing – doing this can help minimize the injury occurrence. And bracing elbows, ankles, and other areas.  

Sports training regimens – A sports therapist may offer specific training to enhance an athlete’s performance. He may also prescribe an ergonomic adjustment to improve his mobility in sports. 

Your PT can discuss your sports performance level and your therapy goals. And you can also share any limitations you have while playing sports.

He will then examine the athlete to assess his range of motion, strength, and overall mechanics. The PT may ask the patient to perform some specific sports movements such as jumping and running.


An athlete has two crucial people who should work closely with a sports physical doctor and sports trainer. While a trainer will focus on recognition, prevention, and rehabilitation of injuries related to sports, he may contribute to the patient’s treatment. Both of them working together can be very beneficial to the athlete. They can work to achieve: 

  • Injury prevention
  • Training
  • Performance
  • Injury rehabilitation

Both must work as a team towards rehabilitation and Injury prevention to avoid re-injury or improper recovery. 


Athletes must ensure to have open communication with their physical therapists. They can address any sport-related matters. And doing this will help create prevention and a workable treatment plan. Keeping in a loop with your PT helps him know what is working for you and what is not. 

And that’s the same for coaches, PTs, and parents. When all these people collaborate, it would greatly benefit the athletes. They can be the front-liners for injuries and offer support whenever possible. They can also help monitor athletes’ prevention and /or recovery plans and work toward this success.

In Conclusion

Every athlete has to start with a school physical, and if the doctor finds you fit, you will continue practicing and playing. But when you advance to a professional player, you can start seeing a physical therapist who is an expert. Having a PT and working together helps you stay on top of your game and improve your weak points.