Injury Prevention and Wellness Consulting in Sports Agencies
I have been a practicing physical therapist for the last 10 years. The last three years I have been specifically in the field of occupational health and worker’s compensation. These are essentially injuries that occur at work, and my job is to get these patients better and assist them in returning to work full duty. I have really learned a lot these last few years regarding work injuries and the impact they have on the individual.
One of the things I have learned from seeing the same types of injuries day in and day out is a lot of them are preventable. I can literally go into a factory or a company and educate their workforce on how to prevent a lot of these injuries from ever happening. This type of consulting work got me thinking. Why are we not offering these consulting services in today’s sports agencies. It would have to be an agency that truly cared about their clients, like a Vayner Sports, but it could set them a step above their competition by offering this service.
It would not take much to staff this model. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who is also a Registered Dietitian (RD), a DPT who is a Sports Certified Specialist (SCS), and a DPT who is an expert in expertise and a mindset specialist. The DPT is not a precursor, but it would put everybody on the same page with being movement specialists. The team could then be available for consultation with the clients for all things sports, workouts, diet, and mindset related so that they feel supported year round, with the hope of preventing some of the injuries that occur in sports. Of course some injuries are not preventable, and accidents do happen, but if even one injury can be prevented, these agencies (and their clients) may save a ton of contract money in the long run.
Patient/Client Centered Treatment
If we are truly doing everything we can to put the patient first, and put the clients first, then shouldn’t we be offering them opportunities to avoid certain workplace injuries? If we have the information and knowledge to help them prevent injuries from ever even happening, isn’t that the point of care we should be meeting them at? In theory, preventing injuries could be costing a physical therapy business patients, since they are not getting hurt and seeking our help. But being up front and honest and educating patient’s to that level builds trust and shows we truly are keeping the “CARE” in healthcare. If these athletes (or their friends or family) do sustain an injury, they are going to remember you and how you helped them and be glad to refer to you because they know you truly care.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
Wellness and injury prevention is certainly a complete 180 from the “show me the money” model where a physical therapy clinic tries to herd as many patients as they can through their doors. However, it is a model that is built for the long haul and building relationships and trust between patients/clients and healthcare providers. My hope is healthcare clinicians and educators can improve healthcare literacy among the public so that we can all benefit by living happier, healthier lives.