PTA’s Role in Competition
Feb 7, 2019
Oftentimes, when we think about competition, we think about professional sports. So, it might come as some surprise to hear that Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are rarely utilized as health care practitioners in professional competition.
âPTAs are utilized in the realm of college sports all the way down to weekend warriors and childhood,â said Wanda Peresic, PT, DPT, MS, Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director at Concordeâs campus in Kansas City, Mo. âCompetition begins very early in life when we start participating in pre-little league, little league, gymnastics, etc. as toddlers and early childhood.â
Physical therapist assistant drawn to athletics
According to Peresic, one of the main reasons why people want to become a physical therapist assistant is their exposure with physical therapy through athletics.
âWhen prospective students are asked of their future goals, many will state sports medicine,â Peresic said. âSports medicine is a branch of medicine that is used to treat athletes and their injuries. It differs from orthopedic medicine in the fact that sports medicine is dealing with the holistic approach to the athlete, including the mental component.â
Obtaining employment in sports medicine
What does the physical therapist assistant need to do to obtain employment in the sports medicine field? Students in Peresicâs program are first encouraged to get a bachelorâs degree after graduation in athletic training.
âThe combination of the two degrees will improve your marketability as a PTA,â she said.
Second, the American Physical Therapy Association
has the PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathway program in which the PTA can work on obtaining proficiency in many areas of physical therapy including orthopedics. Third, itâs important to take additional college or continuing education courses that specifically focuses on athletic injuries. Last, but not least, it is important and beneficial to volunteer in a clinic that does sports medicine.
The role of the physical therapist assistant in sports medicine
So, the question comes back around â how does the physical therapist assistant
play a role in competition?
âThe answer is very simple,â Peresic said. âWe play an active role in helping the patient to heal the wound, whether internal or external, improve oneâs strength and mobility and, lastly, to return the person to the function that is needed to compete â¦ whether it is in life or in sports.â