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Through Research and Rehab, ATI Physical Therapy Helps Athletes of all Levels Get Back in the Game

BOLINGBROOK, IL, Dec. 19, 2016 – ATI Physical Therapy, one of the largest national providers of physical therapy services, is incorporating sports rehabilitation advancements with their own research to help athletes at all levels get back to their sport as well as combat a sharp rise in sports-related injuries. 

ATI Physical Therapy incorporates advanced sports medicine and rehabilitation research and techniques used for many professional athletes into its clinics. Physical therapists are advising patients to integrate a variety of training techniques to maintain overall athletic health, including injury prevention strategies. A well-rounded and focused prevention, and, if required, rehabilitation program, gets athletes playing smarter and returning to the field at the best time based on their injury and goals.   

In a recent study conducted by ATI Physical Therapy, a well-monitored preseason baseball training program showed improvement in arm flexibility and strength for high school pitchers which contributed to a diminished risk of arm injury. In addition, pitchers who had previous injuries and participated in the preseason training program were four times less likely to suffer an injury than those in the general arm care program. 

Recent work that will be presented at the 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting shows that 87 percent of athletes who follow and complete the ATI ACL rehabilitation program after ACL reconstruction were able to complete the next season without injury. This is just one example of the studies and programs ATI is currently conducting. Soon, ATI will publish papers on hip injuries among female athletes and low-back issues for the adolescent athlete. 

Emergency room statistics show young athletes visit hospital ERs for a sports-related injury more than a million times each year[1]. Additional research demonstrates that nearly four in ten emergency room visits for children aged 4-15 years old are sports related[2]

  • Nearly 75 percent of sports-related injuries in youth or teen athletics were linked to four sports: football, soccer, baseball and basketball[3].
  • Concussion rates doubled among U.S. high school athletes between 2005 and 2012[4]; only a fraction of which can be tied to increased awareness for concussion prevention and identification.
  • In 2015, research found that there were more Tommy John surgeries for teens aged 15-19 than any other group based on an analysis of 790 patients who underwent the surgery between 2007-2011. The rate of the surgery in the same age group has been increasing more than 9 percent each year[5].  

Increased injuries are also being seen in baby boomers. The latest research shows that there are over half a million injuries for basketball and another two million injuries for bicycling, football and other sports for the 35 to 54 age group every year. 

“We’re seeing amateur athletes, youth and mature, come in to our clinics for sports injuries on an increasing basis; however, there isn’t one sport that is entirely to blame,” says Charles Thigpen, PhD, PT, ATC, Clinical Research Specialist for ATI Physical Therapy and Director of Observational Clinical Research in Ortho­paedics with the Center for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences at the University of South Carolina.  “Rather, younger athletes that specialize in one sport, year around without adequate rest seem to drive these injuries. For the mature athlete matching recovery time and lack of cross-training appears to be most to blame.” 

Increasing rates of injury is also evident in professional sports. The 2000s had injuries increase in three major U.S. sports: The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. An analysis of NFL injury data shows that the number of injuries mandating a player miss eight days of play jumped every year from 2009 to 2012.[6] 

While all athletes can be prone to injury, it seems professional athletes bounce back faster than others no matter their sport. Kyle Schwarber, along with trainers and doctors for the Chicago Cubs, used ATI Physical Therapy, a sponsor of the World Champion Cubs, for his rehabilitation after his ACL tear and reconstruction early in the 2016 season. He returned to play earlier than expected and played a key role in helping the Cubs win a championship. 

“ATI Physical Therapy played an important role in developing a great game plan for my rehab to help get me back on the field as soon as possible. I have continued working hard during my recovery, and making it back to play with my teammates in the playoffs was an unbelievable experience,” Schwarber said. “Injuries like mine are becoming more and more common in professional sports, but luckily the rehab and PT process is also evolving, so we can get back out on the field quickly and do what we love.”

Besides the Chicago Cubs, ATI is an official partner with the Philadelphia Phillies, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions. ATI also employs more on-site athletic trainers than any other physical therapy company for major college and high school athletic programs.  

As athletes of all ages and levels take their sport to the next level, ATI Athletic Trainers are certified healthcare professionals available to provide care recommendations. Whether it’s a minor sprain, or an injury that requires more comprehensive care, ATI’s highly-trained and skilled athletic trainers are experts in their field. ATI has experts in:  

  • On-site services for practices, games and sporting events
  • Immediate and emergency care
  • Communication liaison with athletes, physicians, coaches and parents, assisting with injury management and safe return to play
  • Nutrition programs, therapeutic massage and preventative care
  • Comprehensive concussion management program 

 For more information on ATI’s sports medicine and rehabilitation services, visit http://www.atipt.com/sports-therapy.

About ATI

Based in Bolingbrook, Illinois, ATI is a privately held, nationally-recognized physical therapy organization with more than 650 locations in 25 states. Named “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, ATI is one of the first physical therapy companies in the country to achieve URAC Core Accreditation, a mark of distinction that recognizes ATI’s commitment to quality healthcare. To give back to the local communities where ATI patients and staff work and live, ATI established the ATI Foundation, a non-profit organization benefiting children in need of resources and funding due to medical complications and physical impairments.

For a complete list of ATI’s clinic locations, please visit ATIpt.com. 

[1] Safe Kids Worldwide. (2013, August 5). 1.35 Million Children Seen in Emergency Rooms for Sports-Related Injuries [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.safekids.org/press-release/135-million-children-seen-emergency-rooms-sports-related-injuries

[3] Bayt, D. R., & Bell, T. M. (2015, December 23). Trends in paediatric sports-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments, 2001–2013. Injury Prevention (BMJ). Retrieved from http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2015/12/23/injuryprev-2015-041757.abstract

[4] Rosenthal, J. A., MD, Foraker, R. E., PhD, Collins, C. L., MA, & Comstock, D., PhD. (2014, April 16). National High School Athlete Concussion Rates From 2005-2006 to 2011-2012. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/14/0363546514530091  

[5] Erickson, B. J., MD, Schairer, W. W., MD, Nwachukwu, B. U., MD, MBA, Rosas, S., BS, McCormick, F. M., MD, Bach Jr., B. R., MD, . . . Romeo, A. A., MD. (2015, July). Trends in Medial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction in the United States. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/43/7/1770