Return To Sport Program
By Morgan Beck
Over the last 10 years our Return to Sport (RTS) Program has gained notoriety with orthopedics, physical therapists, and clinics throughout Central Florida. By now, most orthopedics and therapist realize that sports performance integration in the rehabilitation process is critical in a successful return to sport. Maybe it’s important to distinguish the difference between sports performance training and physical therapy.
For us, sports performance training is a movement-based approach to specific movement patterns common in sport. For example, a sprint, a shuffle, a change of direction are all key concepts we teach in our sports performance program. Our coaches are deeply educated in the intricacies of each of these. They know how to modify them for newer or younger clients, and how to advance them for more elite athletes. Combine this movement approach with a periodized strength program and you have the bones of our sports performance program.
Our physical therapy programming is centered around restoring or optimizing movement patterns without pain. We employ manual and movement-based therapy to assist the healing and recovering process to help return athletes to their sport. Combine this with functional movement assessments to monitor improvement and we have a successful therapy program.
So hopefully, we can see that a Performance Specialist and a Physical Therapist have two different skill sets. Although they speak a similar language they are separately and uniquely different.
What is RTS?
Now, back to our RTS program… our RTS Program takes that movement based-approach (sprinting, shuffling, change of direction), and specifically modifies it to cater to where that athletes is in their return from injury. We are also able to use our expertise to rebuild foundational strength and improve overall movement patterns.
Who is RTS for?
- Currently in Physical Therapy – Many times Therapists are limited by space, equipment, and insurance restrictions. Athletes that have suffered a more severe injury that required surgical intervention may need our program to bridge the gap between physical therapy and return to play. After talking with the athlete’s therapist and sometimes orthopedic we gain a solid understanding of where they are and what they need. This allows us to work as a team and provide the best overall care for our athletes.
- You’ve been cleared, now what? Your doctor or therapist has cleared you but you don’t feel ready to safely return. Even if you aren’t in pain anymore the thought of sprinting, cutting, or jumping can feel intimidating when the most you’ve done is jog on a treadmill. Our program will introduce these movements and intensities to you in a structural and methodical way so that when you do return to play you are fully confident in your body’s abilities to perform your skills.
- Managing a minor injury – Many times athletes will “play through” minor injuries such as; ankle sprains, hamstring strains, or back pain. Playing through these injuries can lead to chronic issues and affect your sport performance in the long run. RTS can assess your deficits and provide you with the proper short term program in managing these minor injuries.
How long will I need to be in RTS?
One crucial factor that we are always aware of in this program is that every injury, surgery, and recovery process is different. For instance, an athletes progress at the 6 month mark of an ACL surgery might look completely different from another athlete who is also 6 months out of their ACL surgery. We may have one athlete for 3 months, we may have another for 5 months. Meanwhile someone with an ankle sprain may only need to be with us for a couple weeks. The amount of time we have these athletes will differ based off of their individualized progress and our confidence in them safely returning to their sport.
I have a unique background as a former athlete, exercise science major, sports performance coach and physical therapy assistant that gives me the passion, knowledge and expertise to help this incredible program we offer.
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