Physical therapists within school districts often work with the athletic departments to assist students. One way they do this is to help the physical education teachers to have safe plans for injured athletes to get back into gym classes. They work with the medical information provided to them from the child's doctor to come up with ways that they may increase their physical activities. They must work carefully so that re-injury does not occur while the students are strengthening their bodies after time away.
Physical Therapy Equipment Needs
As the rate of injuries of student athletes has increased over the years, many schools have pushed toward preventative measures. In addition to hiring athletic trainers to be on staff, they are investing in equipment that will benefit student athletes.
Exercise Science rooms are popping up at some high schools for athletes to take advantage of. These rooms include exercise equipment that targets specific needs of the students. They may be utilized for multiple reasons, not just the student athletes. Some students may need to use weights to strengthen arms when they are taking care of a leg injury. Many of these rooms also have mirrors surrounding them so when they are instructed on use of the machines, they are able to watch themselves to learn proper techniques. Body posture and techniques are important to follow to maximize effectiveness and minimize injuries.
The Push for Hydrotherapy
College and professional athletes often use hydrotherapy after games and workouts to help their bodies. Recently, Oak Grove purchased a Grimm Hydrotherapy System for their school. It is one of only two high schools that have them in the United States. Athletes are able to use the whirlpool for 10 to 15 minutes. This system has two tubs that have different purposes. The cold water tub is used to decrease swelling, help with pain, and make range of motion better. The hot water system is not used as much for students.
Looking Ahead and Planning
When planning for the new year, schools need to look ahead during the budgeting process. What physical therapy related equipment would benefit the general student population and also be useful to athletes? Research grants, look at what can be re-purposed from other sources, and seek out fund raising methods. Think outside of the box and brainstorm with all members of the school community to come up with what will work the best for as many students as possible.