Sports Physical Therapy is a specialized practice that focuses on evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, performance enhancement, and prevention of the physically-active individual.
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 neuro-musculoskeletal injuries. Included in this is the functional assessment of the individual post-injury to assist in a safe return to activity.
Treatment and rehabilitation of neuro-musculoskeletal injuries is at the center of sports physical therapy practice. In a team approach with physicians, the 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.
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 neuro-musculoskeletal 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.
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.
Reference: Sports Physical Therapy Section APTA