This past week I became a board certified sports clinical specialist in physical therapy. It has without a doubt been a major goal of mine since physical therapy school. I’ve known for some time now that I always wanted to be a sports physical therapist. The challenges and rewards associated with taking an athlete through rehab to back to their sport always intrigued me.
Without the help from my mentors at USC’s residency I would not have been able to achieve this milestone. The SCS test is designed to test the physical therapist’s knowledge on many components to sports care including: on-field emergencies, evaluation and treatment of sports injuries, medical/surgical conditions, injury preventions, and sports performance. Having a strong knowledge base on acute injuries is crucial. For me, I was fortunate to learn this during my residency on the field. Seeing different medical conditions such as diabetes, marfans, and more gave me a good baseline. In addition, the dermatological conditions were something that was often encountered in residency that helped with the SCS prep.
So why specialize? For me it was a way to put all the knowledge I gained during residency to test. While I am not a fan of written tests it is the only objective criteria we have other than practical’s during residencies. In addition, it was a way to separate myself into the niche field of sports physical therapy. However as with any credentials, that is only the beginning of knowledge. Constantly learning and applying that knowledge is the key.