Keeping Athletes on the Field

By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

You claim that your brand is sports medicine physical therapy—Prove it!

Customers are most satisfied when we not only meet but also exceed the expectations we set!

Your social media/website/newsletter should:

  • provide great professional profiles, outlining not only therapist experience and education but also hands-on sports experience. (For instance, if you are promoting a soccer rehab program, do you have one or more clinicians who have played, coached, or participated in soccer?)
  • have evidence-based references in Facebook posts/blogs/tweets on local and national sporting events, and common injuries athletes face and overcome with physical therapy.
  • promote and celebrate local athletes and teams.
  • include links to literature on effectiveness of physical therapy for treating specific sports injuries.

Your clinic(s) should:

  • have athletic equipment and functional training equipment that can be sport specific.
  • have a culture of athleticism among some or all staff.
  • provide hours, clinics, screenings, and performance services that fit local athletes’ needs.
  • consider hiring athletic trainers and other fitness professionals to address ongoing athletes’ needs beyond skilled physical therapists.

Your clinicians should:

  • know the lingo of the sports for which you are promoting rehabilitation.
  • attend events and act as hands-on sponsors when possible.
  • partner with sports medicine and orthopedic physicians to offer pre-sport screenings.
  • connect with coaches and parents on strategies to keep athletes in the game.

Your documentation should:

  • be cautious in identifying other functional deficits as precursors to sport goals in order to insure coverage.
  • clearly delineate what services are above and beyond medically necessary physical therapy and be prepared to offer cash-based services.

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, is president and consultant of Steffes & Associates, a national rehabilitation consulting group focused on marketing and program development for private practices nationwide. She is an instructor in five physical therapy programs and has actively presented, consulted, and taught in 40 states. She can be reached at

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