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What Roles does a Physical Therapist Play in the Rehabilitation of Elite Athletes?

Elite Athlete Training

Rehabilitation for Elite Athletes

Normally, as a weekend amateur, when you are playing basketball, tennis or whatever your favorite sport is, if you get injured, you can be out of action for a long time. Particularly if you say twist your ankle or jerk your head in the wrong way while trying to make that crucial shot. However, elite athletes may twist their ankle or pull several muscles during a high-intensity game and are back on the field or court for the very next game, right as rain.

Although you’d expect those playing at the upper echelons of their game to be better able to recover from injury than us mere mortals because of their better overall level of fitness, there’s more to it. They often have access to experienced and highly skilled physical therapists. How does that help?

Quick Attention

Compared to what happens when the average joe injuries himself during a weekend game of football with the guys, where he has to try and book an appointment with a doctor, those pros are getting cared for from the moment they hurt themselves. Physicians, trainers and physical therapists rush in and start treating them straight away.

Time is a huge factor when it comes to injury and recovery. Often what is done (or in the case of many amateurs who get injured) immediately after can have a huge impact. Not only will the injury remain painful, but if it hasn’t had the necessary attention and care it needs, it could be worse.

It’s Part of their Job

Obviously, a huge difference between amateurs and professional athletes is the fact that for amateurs it’s just a hobby, whereas for professionals it’s their day job. So, for them, recovery is not just about feeling better, it’s about being able to do the job. Which is why they rely on physical therapists. They can help with pain management, but also help to remove the pain.

Prevents Repeated Injuries

As well as dealing with current injuries, physical therapists help elite athletes to prevent other injuries from occurring. By monitoring the biomechanics and health of those in their care, physical therapists have a better understanding of how to choose the right workouts to help them recover, but also to keep them from getting injured again.

As physical therapists know what the cause of many common injuries are, they are better able to provide the right set of stretches or exercises that will help an athlete recover. As an amateur athlete, it is likely that the last thing you want to do is actually do any work involving the muscles or body parts that are in pain. However, those are often the parts that athletes have to concentrate on.

Athletes also benefit from the use of massage, ice baths and other treatments that their physical therapists know how best to utilize. So, the next time you watch your favorite sports star get injured, only to see them back on the field the very next game, you know their team of physical therapists, trainers and medics are responsible for it.