What makes a sports physical therapist different? What is it about one physical therapist vs another that makes them unique in truly treating athletes?
Now I know what your thinking. Everyone took kinesiology in PT school! Very true. But do you know each phase of the softball pitch and what muscles fire during each phase? Do you know the common and uncommon substitutions during the overhand throw? How about the torque placed on different anatomical structures during each phase of the throw? I certainly didn't after PT school. However, this is what is great about post graduate education: we can all learn it.
So why is it that we must learn about different sports biomechanics? Simple, sports specificity. Most clinics do not have the luxury of having all the equipment ideal for treating high level athletes. As a result, we as clinicians must know how to be creative. For example, a BMX rider that I am currently treating is getting closer to the sports specific part of his rehabilitation. So how do I get him ready for returning to a 360 jump? This is where the the creative part comes in. Starting with teaching him how to dissociate between his shoulder/t-spine/neck and hips might be the first step. Knowing that when initiating the 360 jump requires his body to follow his shoulders/neck allows me to replicate this movement. Next, teaching him how to do a 360 on flat ground and progressing onto a box would help me replicate the loading he will take. Because he can't do this trick with his bike in the clinic, I must get as close as possible to teach him how to take the load from this trick. Lastly, working on proprioception such as having him eyes open or eyes closed and doing a 360 landing in the same spot (use tape, etc to mark spot) can give him practice. Much more is involved with a athlete like this, but it all starts with understanding biomechanics and kinematic sequences.
Depending on what kind of access you have to Pubmed at your school or clinic, there are many articles out there taking a look at biomechanics behind everything from the jump to the throwing athlete. After that, finding a great sports PT mentor is a good step. More often than not, PT's that have been involved with sports for a while understand the importance of knowing specific biomechanics for a particular type of sport/athlete.