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There are some additional/different recertification guidelines for sports specialists seeking to maintain their certification, specifically regarding direct patient care and venue hours.

The following requirements are also required for sports recertification.

Recertification eligibility requires candidates to document a minimum of 100 venue coverage hours in either contact, limited contact, or noncontact sports acquired within the past 10 years.

Candidates with limited capability to cover organized sporting events, e.g., military PTs, federal PTs employed outside the United States, may submit a request to receive credit for venue coverage hours provided while supporting military physical training or tactical athlete training, e.g., SWAT/FBI physical training.

Venue Coverage Hours

MOSC candidates must submit 33 venue coverage hours in either contact, limited contact, or noncontact sports in each three-year MOSC cycle.

Specialists with limited capability to cover organized sporting events, e.g., military PTs, federal PTs employed outside the United States, may submit a request to receive credit for venue coverage hours provided while supporting military physical training or tactical athlete training, e.g., SWAT/FBI physical training.

Acceptable evidence includes current evidence of one of the following:

  • Certification as an Emergency Medical Responder by the American Red Cross.
  • Certification or licensure as an Emergency Medical Technician.
  • Certification or licensure as a Paramedic.
  • Certification as a Certified Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
  • Board of Credentialing, or NATABOC, in the past 10 years

Acceptable training to attain the Acute Management of Injury and Illness certification includes the American Red Cross Emergency Medical Response courses. If you are planning to take the American Red Cross Emergency Medical Response course to meet the emergency care minimum eligibility requirements but have not completed the course at the time of the application deadline (July 31), please indicate when and where you anticipate taking the course.

Applicants who wish to have the specialty council evaluate whether an equivalent level emergency care training course meets the minimum eligibility requirements must submit information about the course (syllabus, description, textbook, etc.) to the Sport Specialty Council for review prior to the Oct. 31 application deadline.

Direct Patient Care Hours

For initial certification candidates, there is an additional requirement for the direct patient care hour eligibility requirement for initial certification and recertification candidates. One hundred hours of the direct patient care hour requirement must be documented as athletic venue coverage. Athletic venue coverage may include activities supporting or observing medical care provided in preparation for, during, or following practices, training, or competitions.

Type of Duty

Time

Event

Supporting medical care

Preparation (prior)

Practices

Observing medical care

During

Training

 

Following

Competitions

 

A minimum of 50% of the hours must be performed in association with a contact sport, e.g., basketball, boxing, diving, field hockey, flag or tackle football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, motocross, rodeo, rugby, ski jumping, soccer, team handball, water polo, wrestling. The remaining hours may be performed in association with coverage of contact, limited contact, e.g., baseball, gymnastics, or noncontact sports, e.g., ballet, dance. A listing of contact, limited contact, and noncontact sports is provided on Page 4.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABPTS and the Sports Specialty Council have waived the mandatory requirement for 2021 exam applicants that 50% of the venue coverage hours must be performed in association with a contact sport. Applicants for this cycle may document the required 100 hours in any combination of contact, limited contact, or noncontact sports to fulfill the venue coverage requirement.

Rationale for Additional Requirement

The Description of Specialty Practice for Sports Physical Therapy outlines the key competencies including: Rehabilitation/Return to Activity, Acute Injury/Illness Management, Sports Science, Medical/Surgical Considerations, Injury Prevention, and Critical Inquiry. During the current SCS application process, we require evidence of clinical practice to ensure that the candidate has not only learned the concepts of Sports Physical Therapy but also gains experience in the clinic with these concepts. We ensure that the candidate has been exposed and equipped with the particular concepts of Acute Injury/Illness Management with the emergency care certification requirement of having one of the following:

  • Certification as an Athletic Trainer, Certified (ATC).
  • License as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
  • Certification as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).*

*Note that this title was previously an Emergency Responder or First Responder.

What lacks in consistency and clarity is the experience of the candidate with utilization of these designations (ATC, EMT, or EMR). With the current application process, there is no requirement that ensures the candidate actively functions in any of these capacities. This dilemma becomes more apparent, when one looks further into the subdivisions of this Acute Injury/Illness Management competency. These subdivisions include the Examination, Evaluation, Diagnosis as well as Prognosis, Intervention, Outcomes of the acutely injured or ill athlete. The ability to complete those competencies in the sports physical therapy clinic on the acutely injured or ill athlete is rare. Conversely, the exposure to ensure proficiency not just knowledge of this competency is relatively easily attained on the athletic venue. These points were substantiated with the recent revalidation study, resulting in the 2013 Sports Description of Specialty Practice.

The Sports Specialty Council is attempting to rectify this dilemma by requiring SCS candidates to complete athletic venue hours as part of the application process, which will accomplish the following goals:

  1. Improve not just the knowledge of this competency but also the application of this knowledge, thus improving the possibility of not just equipping but also developing sports physical therapy specialists in acute injury/illness.
  2. Provide more consistency between the different routes to qualify for SCS application, i.e., residency route versus traditional application. Currently, all credentialed sports physical therapy residency programs requires 200 athletic venue hours.

What Activities Constitute Venue Coverage?

Applicants for specialization certification in sports physical therapy and applicants for recertification should utilize the following guidance in calculating venue coverage hours. Because each situation is different, there is no specific list of activities that may always be included or excluded as venue coverage. However, a guiding principle to consider for defining venue coverage is the activities in which a therapist participates immediately preceding, during, or immediately following an official competition or practice athletic events, or tactical athlete and/or military competitions or physical training. This work can be fee based or pro bono. Time spent providing support of medical or athletic training personnel in any of the stated circumstances may qualify. Hours may be performed in support of primary services provided by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, certified athletic trainer, or a physical therapist who is a board-certified sports clinical specialist.

Physical therapists should check with their state practice act and the regulations of the respective sporting organization to ensure acceptable involvement by the PT.

Some examples of approved venue coverage activities include:

  • Time spent providing injury management and consultation for athletes in venues where athletes practice and compete, e.g., interscholastic, club, intramural, collegiate, Olympic, professional, practices and competitions.
  • Time spent as part of a preparticipation physical medical team for athletes.
  • Time spent providing medical support for running and cycling events, e.g., holiday 5K, organized marathons, triathlons, bike races.
  • Time spent providing care and injury management for tactical athletes/military personnel in combatives training, group physical training evolutions, obstacle course.

Sport Classification by Contact Level1:

Contact Sports

Limited Contact Sports

Non-Contact Sports

Basketball, boxing, diving;

Field hockey, football (flag, tackle), ice hockey, lacrosse;

Martial arts, rodeo, rugby;

Ski jumping, soccer;

Team handball, water polo, wrestling, motocross

Baseball, bicycling;

Boarding (skate, snow, and wake/knee), canoeing/kayaking (white water);

Cheerleading, cricket, fencing;

Field events (pole vault and high jump);

Field hockey, gymnastics, handball, horseback riding, racquetball;

Skating (ice, in-line, roller);

Skiing (cross-country, downhill, water), software;

Squash, ultimate frisbee, volleyball;

Windsurfing/surfing

Archery, badminton, body building;

Canoeing/kayaking (flat water);

Crew/rowing, curling, dancing;

Field (discus, javelin, shot put);

Golf orienteering, power lifting, race walking, riflery;

Rope jumping, running, sailing;

Scuba diving, strength training, swimming;

Table tennis, tennis, track;

Weightlifting

1 Rice SG; Council on Sportts Medicine and Fitness. Medical conditions affecting sports participation. Pediatrics. 2008;121;841.

Initial certification eligibility requires candidates to document a minimum of 50 venue coverage hours in contact sports. Another 50 hours minimum may be in contact, limited contact, or noncontact sports. All 100 hours must have been acquired within the past 10 years.

Candidates with limited capability to cover organized sporting events, e.g., military PTs, federal PTs employed outside the United States, may submit a request to receive credit for venue coverage hours provided while supporting military physical training or tactical athlete training, e.g., SWAT/FBI physical training.

The request and materials for review are to be emailed to
Spec-Cert@apta.org.


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