• Under current law (in many states), sports medicine professionals who travel from their home state (primary) to a secondary state do not receive the liability coverage they would in the primary state. This issue creates a serious problem for physicians, physical therapists (PTs), and athletic trainers as they move across state lines to attend sporting events with teams that employ them. Currently, their malpractice insurance may not apply during travel, putting them at significant professional and financial risk when treating injured athletes.

    The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act was introduced to address this issue and allow sports medicine professionals, specifically physicians, PTs, athletic trainers, and other licensed professionals to travel with high school, collegiate, professional, and national governing body sports teams without fear of repercussions of being uninsured. APTA asserts that the nature of physical therapists’ extensive work in the treatment of athletes on sports teams who travel across state lines, including the requirement by the National Football League that every team have a physical therapist, and in that role travel with teams across the country, makes it crucial that Congress approves this legislation and the president signs it in to law. The bill passed the House in January of 2017.

    What Physical Therapists (PTs) Do for Athletes

    • PTs, physicians, and athletic trainers all have a unique educational and experiential background and, therefore, bring different knowledge and abilities to the treatment of athletes on the sidelines.
    • Physical therapists provide onsite therapeutic interventions (soft tissue and joint mobilization, certain stretching techniques, postgame rehabilitation, and more) at practices, games, and events.
    • Physical therapists are uniquely qualified through training to provide movement analysis, assess musculoskeletal performance, and provide physical rehabilitation.
    • As physical therapists are required to graduate from a doctoral-level program and the education PTs receive in neurology and balance disorders is different from that of athletic training curricula, the physical therapist is a uniquely valuable member of the sports medicine team, especially when treating patients following concussion.

  • Last Updated: 4/7/2017
    Contact: advocacy@apta.org