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Sports Physical Therapy
Growing athletes are different from adult athletes due to their unique needs and athletic demands that can make their bodies more susceptible to injury and overuse. Our highly skilled team of sports physical therapists understand the unique physical, mental, and emotional challenges facing young athletes.
Children’s National Hospital offers highly specialized sports physical therapy for young athletes at the Fight For Children’s Sports Medicine Center. We provide sport-specific and athlete-specific rehabilitation following injury or surgery to help student-athletes regain strength, mobility and confidence as they heal and return to the sports and activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.
Highlights of our sports physical therapy program include:
- Expert care for the young athlete. The physical therapists at the Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center are sports experts who also understand the unique needs of the young athlete and are skilled in identifying the proper mechanics of sport-specific movements. Our physical therapists have extensive training and experience in treating a wide range of sports injuries and providing rehabilitation following surgery. We use the most up-to-date, research-based approaches to get athletes back to the sport they love.
- Sports experience. Our physical therapists are athletes themselves, with personal experience in a variety of activities and sports including soccer, basketball, running, Olympic weightlifting and dance. This allows them to understand, relate to and motivate young athletes, helping to facilitate a faster, safer and more successful recovery. In addition to their personal sports experiences, our sports physical therapists have experience working with a vast array of athletes at many different levels and in a variety of sports.
- Advanced certifications. We believe that athletes require the highest level of specialized and sport-specific care, which is why our team has advanced certifications including: orthopedic certified specialists (OCS), sports certified specialists (SCS) and strength and conditioning specialists (CSCS).
- Cutting-edge equipment: The brand-new rehabilitation and strengthening gymnasium at the Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardiovascular, strengthening and stability equipment to help athletes recover and improve their athletic performance. Learn more about our cutting-edge technology.
- Comprehensive care. Our licensed sports physical therapists work closely with orthopaedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and other members of the sports medicine team to provide the full spectrum of sports medicine care and ensure the most complete and seamless recovery process.
- Convenient care at an advanced facility. The Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center is a world-class pediatric facility designed to help young athletes across the region achieve their fullest potential. This 11,000-square-foot facility brings together an onsite multidisciplinary team of sports physical therapists, athletic trainers, biomechanists, engineers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, sports physicians and orthopaedic surgeons who communicate and collaborate daily to provide personalized and targeted sports rehabilitation and injury prevention programs. Our team of therapists work in close proximity to state-of-the-art sports motion analysis technology in the Motion Capture Lab that can enhance the evaluation and assessment of precise movements to teach young athletes how to avoid injuries and improve their performance in their particular sport.
Preparing for Your Child's First Visit
- Please arrive 15 minutes early to your appointment to ensure you are parked, checked in and ready to start your appointment on time.
- Parents and patients waiting have access to private workstations with charging outlets, complimentary internet connection and a coffee station to allow you to be productive while you wait.
- If your child is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be present with the young athlete during their visit. If you are 16 and older and approved by your physical therapist, a parent or guardian may sign a waiver allowing their young athlete to come to their follow-up physical therapy sessions without a parent present, but all parents or guardians must be present during the initial evaluation, unless the athlete is 18 years old or older.
During your child's initial visit, they will receive one-on-one care with a licensed sports physical therapist who will:
- Perform a comprehensive and sport-specific evaluation to understand the history and mechanism of your child’s injury.
- Identify strength deficits or imbalances, flexibility limitations, and impaired movement patterns that may be contributing to the acute or chronic injury.
After your clinical evaluation, your sports physical therapist and sports medicine team will:
- Develop an individualized treatment plan by creating goals and customized treatment plans carried out in follow-up visits to get the athlete back to their activity.
- Use a wide variety of skilled treatments to address your young athlete’s unique needs including various forms of manual therapy, strengthening exercises, stretches for improved mobility, balance and postural activities, and improved alignment mechanics. When ready, they may progress into guided weight training, jumping, running and agility drills based on their specific sport or activity, all with the goal of getting athletes back to their peak performance.
- Appropriate workout clothing. This will allow your sports physical therapist to see your injury, how you move and perform exercises without restrictions. For example, wear shorts, a tank top and athletic shoes for your appointments. For your convenience, we have secure lockers and changing rooms available to you to help you be prepared.
- A water bottle. We have contactless refilling stations to ensure you stay hydrated throughout your workout.
Innovative Care for the Young Athlete
The Fight for Children Sports Medicine Center is the only facility of its kind dedicated to kids in the Washington, D.C., region. It offers a full range of sports medicine programs specifically for the young athlete – from clinical care and top-of-the-line imaging to sports physical therapy, athletic training, and 3D motion capture and analysis.
Cutting-Edge Equipment and Technology
Highlights of the technology that we use in our program includes:
- AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. Using NASA-patented differential air pressure technology, real-time gait analytics and live video monitoring, this advanced treadmill allows athletes to unweight their bodies comfortably and precisely to as little as 20% of body weight to reduce the impact and force through their joints. This enables them to practice the motions of walking or running, pain-free and much earlier in the rehabilitation process. This early mobility is beneficial for their mental and physical health and helps facilitate a quicker recovery.
- Keiser® strengthening equipment includes a versatile power rack, a functional trainer and three different types of strengthening machines that all use pneumatic resistance which is safer and more effective than traditional strength training methods. This advanced strengthening technology allows athletes to retrain their brain and muscles to remain active and engaged throughout the range of motion while minimizing stress on the joints and connective tissues to prevent injury. Our trained physical therapists use the Keiser® equipment to improve muscle control, strength, power and sport-specific performance.
- Sport-specific equipment such as ballet barres, golf training equipment, on-land rowing and swimming trainers, gymnastics mats, throwing nets, treadmills, weightlifting equipment and more.
For questions about Sports Physical Therapy or to schedule an evaluation or visit, please call us at 301-576-2000.
Take A Look At Our Facility
The Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center services include pediatric and adolescent sports physical therapy and rehabilitation in a state-of-the-art gym, sports performance and injury prevention programs, sport-specific motion analysis for performance improvement and traditional gait analysis.
Read about how specialized and integrated care from the orthopaedic experts at Children's National helped treat Alicia's hip condition.
Sports Physical Therapy Team
Clinical Program Manager, Sports Medicine Physical Therapy
Sports Medicine Physical Therapist
Sports Medicine Physical Therapist