Physical Therapy and Athletic Training

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Exercise Science endows students with a deep understanding of human body and equips them to be able to attend to various health-related issues. The program majors in a variety of areas including the physiology involved in the exercise, nervous system motor control, medical biomechanics and rehabilitative exercise. Also, students also get to learn about the body’s nutrition.

The involvement of exercise scientist in sport has caused them to develop nutritional and physical techniques to help athletes achieve the best results. However, some scientists have gone further to use illegal methods and drugs that enhance performance.

What are the issues affecting exercise science? This paper will aim to expound further on Exercise Science by exploring and expounding on other sub-topics such as physical therapy and athletic training. Also, this essay will discuss the various emerging issues that are found in this field which include doping.


Over the years, doping has been a thorn in the flesh for exercise scientists. This malpractice is conducted by administration of peptide hormones, insulin-like growth factors and development peptides such as growth hormone. Insulin and erythropoietin have also been used over the years to enhance athletes’ performances (Greathouse, 2005). Despite numerous side effects, various athletes have continued using these compounds. As such, this issue has puzzled exercise scientists as attempts to reduce doping cases have been met by new tricks to avoid detection. This factor is because the pharmaceutical industry has continued to manufacture new drugs that can combat aging and enhance performance without a trace.

According to a recent study, sales of prescription opioids have increased rapidly. As such, American Physical Therapy Association has heavily recommended physical therapy as a different tactic of managing pain and increasing vigilance. Athletes are encouraged to choose physical therapy as its rewards outweigh the risks when compared to doping. Furthermore, physical therapy does more than masking the pain ("How Young Athletes Can Benefit from Physical Therapy", 2018).

                 Physical therapy and Athletics’ training.

Over the years, many athletes have suffered injuries and thus they have been sidelined from games, seasons or worse their careers. Sports injuries can be quite devastating. They are most common when performing organized sports, competitions, fitness activities and training exercises. More often than not, sports injuries result from poor training techniques, inadequate warmup among other sports mishaps. Apostolos Theophilou, the clinical coordinator of the Physical Therapist Assisting Program at South University, states that some of the most significant contributors to sports injuries include fatigue, dehydration and psychosocial aspects.

Most of the times, athletes ought to start physical rehabilitation if they intend to cope with sports injuries (Young & Metzl, 2010). Physical therapy enables people to rebuild their body strength and move the injured parts of their body.  Furthermore, it has been proven that therapy enables people to manage their pain and also prevent any further damage and recurring problems. To help patients recover from heinous injuries, physical therapists undergo professional training to equip them with the necessary skills. As part of their job, physical therapists assist the injured in stretching, exercises and using specialized equipment meant to manage an array of injuries (Young & Metzl, 2010). Before starting any physical therapy process, the therapists examine the patient’s muscles thoroughly to determine the type of exercise and training that would not make the body prone to another injury.

Sports injuries that affect muscles, ligaments and other parts of the musculoskeletal system often require immediate medical attention. In such cases, physical therapists work closely with orthopedic surgeons and primary care doctors ("CSM 2005 Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy Section Programming Schedule", 2005).  They then evaluate the wound, create a physical therapy schedule and plan a treatment that returns the athlete to normal as fast as possible.

For students, professional athletes among others, physical therapy is important in helping prevent injury or rehabilitation from activity-related wounds.

                      What happens in physical therapy.

Most physical therapy clinics are located in gyms, hospitals or private offices. They contain equipment such as weights, foam rollers, treadmills and exercise balls among others. When attending a session, it is wise to wear loose clothing and sneakers (Dawes 2001). On the first day, the therapist tests one’s strength, flexibility and joint stability to find out the underlying issues that may have resulted in an injury. After the evaluation, the therapist plans out a treatment to rehabilitate the wound.

For subsequent visits, an athlete performs a series of stretching exercises to strengthen the injured region. Furthermore, to reduce inflammation, one may call for an ultrasound and electrical stimulation. These techniques improve blood flow, strength and often relieve any form of discomfort. Apart from exercising at the clinic, one ought to exercise frequently on their own to fasten the healing process.

Within a few weeks, minor injuries such as a twisted ankle or a strained glute significantly feel better. Other involved conditions such as tendinitis and plantar fasciitis require more visits before healing. It is therefore vital for athletes to take physical therapy serious if they intend to stay on top of their health conditions.

Can physical therapy prevent a sports injury?

Fortunately, physical therapy does not only apply to the wounded. Some clinics offer preventive evaluations to determine any form of muscle weakness or imbalance that may lead to a future injury. On identifying a potential problem, the therapist initiates training exercises that prevent various issues from turning into serious injuries (Finkam, 2002). It has been proven that many injuries often arise from long-standing weaknesses. Taking the initiative to solve these weaknesses earlier saves an athlete a lot of stress and money. The findings of one study point to the fact that physical therapy reduces ACL injuries by almost 41 percent.

Importance of Physical therapy in athletic training.

Everyone knows that physical therapy is a process that enables one’s body to work right again. Although this is the wide view, the process involves much more (Dawes 2001). As seen above it helps in preventing injuries and it should be a crucial part of any athlete’s schedule.  There are plenty of benefits that result from physical therapy. These include:

Muscle strength and flexibility.

It is quite crucial for young athletes to work with therapists in a bid to strengthen their muscles and increase their overall flexibility. This type of approach is quite beneficial in athletes training as it helps build both their strength and power. Furthermore, it improves the athletes’ mobility as well as keeping their muscular system supple and ready to work at optimum levels ("CSM 2005 Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy Section Programming Schedule", 2005). In cases where the muscles are working at peak levels, it is easier to avoid injuries and also in case the injuries occur, they heal at a faster rate.

Increased circulation

In sports, it is important for the athlete’s blood flow to be optimal. As such, regular routines and constant workouts are vital to improving blood circulation to various parts of the body. For athletes, better blood flow results to higher oxygen levels in the body, a factor which enables one to perform at high levels (Finkam, 2002). Most studies have proven that some of the most common injuries in athletes are due to overuse of muscles joint or tendon. Therefore, undertaking physical therapy in athletics training plays a huge role in increasing blood flow which helps reduce such injuries and further encourage faster healing of the injured areas.

Better Stamina.

Most athletes rely on their stamina and constitution to perform with ease. Regardless of the sport in question, endurance is the key. Whether its hockey, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and any other physical game, coaches advise their athletes to build their stamina if they possess any intentions of winning. Thus, a physical training session with a well-trained therapist goes a long way to build both endurance and longevity. Therefore, physical therapy forms a rather crucial part of athletic training.

Emotional issues.

For an athlete to perform at peak level, their mental and emotional health ought to be good. The good news is, all exercises performed during physical therapy sessions are quite therapeutic to the brain and as a result good emotional health. Exercises performed during these sessions often build focus and determination. Furthermore, they create a positive outlook which in turn greatly improves coping skills which are quite essential to an adult’s mental and emotional health.


Instead of doping to remain vigilant, young and healthy in sports, physical therapy is a better option.  When athletes assume a therapeutic approach during their training, their bodies retain the youthfulness and strength. This technique is one of the best methods to retain vigilance (Greathouse, 2005). The more one attends physical therapy sessions, the higher the chances of slowing down the ravages that come with the aging process. Therapy sessions are a healthy routine to maintain one’s peak performance.


There has been a major confusion between athletic training and physical therapy. A point to note is that physical therapy is an important part of athletic training. Identifying a qualified therapist is one of the sure ways to ensure that an athlete retains their peak performance levels for a long time. It is very common for athletes to wait until they sustain sports injury to start physical therapy sessions. However, this is inadvisable as it may not take a short while for such injuries to heal. As seen above, physical therapy is important for athletes to maintain neuromuscular control. It is therefore crucial that sports trainers include physical therapy in their sessions to ensure that their athletes gain better neuromuscular training and avoid any future injuries (Greathouse, 2005). Physical therapists, athletic trainers and physicians continue to acquire more knowledge that will help in preventing and diagnosing any sports injuries. Although some procedures remain standard, the means to prevent, care and address injuries have changed and are more efficient.


  Work Cited

"CSM 2005 Orthopaedic And Sports Physical Therapy Section Programming Schedule". Vol 35, no. 1, 2005, pp. 33-38. Journal Of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), doi:10.2519/jospt.2005.35.1.33.

This article presents a schedule of a presentation by the orthopedic section and the sports physical therapy sections of the American Physical Therapy Association. The presentation included different implications of different sports injuries to bone alignment. The article further gives suggestions as to how different injuries ought to be handled and avoided.

Dawes, Helen. "Coping With Sports Injuries". Physiotherapy, vol 87, no. 5, 2001, p. 275. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/s0031-9406(05)60799-7.

The article describes physiotherapy as the best health approach to deal with sports injuries. The author goes on to explain that for the process to work, athletes ought to work with well-trained and qualified professionals. He further explains that sports therapy is a field of physical therapy which deals with issues of sports injuries. Furthermore, the article points out different sports injuries and how they are handled in therapeutic sessions.

Finkam, Sue. "The Athletic Trainer Or Athletic Therapist As Physician Extender". Athletic Therapy Today, vol 7, no. 3, 2002, pp. 50-51. Human Kinetics, doi:10.1123/att.7.3.50.

The article points out that physical therapy is an important aspect of athletic training. It argues that athletic trainers who incorporate physical therapy into their exercises often produce athletes who are vigilant and not prone minor injuries. It points out that an athletic therapist can also be referred to a physical therapist as he caters for the injured sportsmen. The article concludes by showing the importance of different types exercises.

Greathouse, David G. "Primary Care Physical Therapy Practice Models". Journal Of Orthopaedic And Sports Physical Therapy, 2005. Journal Of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), doi:10.2519/jospt.2005.2167.

The article points out that diagnosis by physical therapists is specific. It argued that physical therapists should assume the diagnostic role and perform medical examinations to determine the type of injuries in athletes. Furthermore, the author argues that it is vital to take into account the psychological condition of a patient before any physical therapy to avoid any adverse conditions. The article goes on to give different models of physical therapy that can help deal with the issue of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunctions.

"How Young Athletes Can Benefit From Physical Therapy". Cimlasvegas.Com, 2018, Accessed 17 Mar 2018.

The article begins by explaining the definition of physical therapy. It further points out the different forms that the exercise may take. The author lists different ways in which physical therapy sessions benefit young athletes. These include: endurance, muscle alignment, anti-aging among other benefits. The article concludes by heavily recommending athletes to embrace physical therapy.

Young, W., & Metzl, J. (2010). Strength Training for the Young Athlete. Pediatric Annals, 39(5), 293-299.

The author focuses on some of the injuries that different athletes sustain in the sport. He further explains that the body of a young athlete cannot be conditioned despite the level of their skill. The article points out that athletes are prone to injuries in muscles, tendons among other areas. Additionally, the author argues that different athletes have different growth plates and should therefore train under a qualified professional who can correctly articulate their needs. The article points out that both male and female athletes can train can train under the same intensity if they possess similar growth plates. The article concludes that physical therapy is important when training athletes as it enhances both body structure and body alignment.

September 11, 2023



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