Sports Medicine in Occupational Therapy

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If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably got this Sunday afternoon blocked off for at least four hours to watch the Seattle Seahawks battle the New England Patriots for the championship. If you’re interested in a sports medicine major, you might also be aware of the injuries and concussions both teams have experienced this season, which could affect their play.

which super bowl players could us some OT

NFL Super Bowl XLIX Players That Could Use Occupational Therapy

For the NFC Seattle Seahawks:

  1. Kick and punt returner Bryan Walters was diagnosed with a concussion late October 2014. He went through the NFL concussion protocols and was cleared to start practicing on October 29. Safety Jeron Johnson has been out of the game for a few months now, but has recently been cleared for practice and is reported to play in the Super Bowl. Quarterback Russell Wilson is speculated to have suffered a concussion during the NFC championship game against Green Bay. He took a hard hit to the head, but reportedly did not go through NFL’s concussions protocols and finished the game. It’s a speculation at this point, but with a hit like this, it’s hard to imagine he didn’t at least suffer a headache.

For the AFC New England Patriots:

  1. Center Bryan Stork was put on the Patriot’s injury list for a concussion early October 2014 and was taken off late October to play against the Chicago Bears. Lineman Dan Connolly was in a similar situation as Stork, except he couldn’t catch a break and is now reportedly out with a knee injury. Last December, wide receiver Julian Edelman was listed with both a thigh injury and a concussion. Because of both injuries, he missed his first game in two years. It’s only been within the last couple of weeks he was cleared to play.

Both of these teams have worked hard to get where they are. No doubt they will play to win. And no doubt the locker rooms will be stocked with ice for when the game’s adrenaline starts to wear off and muscle fatigue sets in. For the injuries that ice can’t fix, it’s probably time for some occupational therapy.

Sports Medicine through Occupational Therapy

If a player has experienced a broken bone or muscular injury, chances are they will need physical therapy to help them recover. However if an NFL football player has experienced a brain injury, like a concussion, they may need occupational therapy (OT). For more information, check out these examples about the differences between occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Occupational therapy helps patients complete everyday tasks in new ways. This type of treatment is for those whose injury will need adapted to, not fixed. For example, if a patient can no longer grasp a fork tightly to eat, there are modifications you can make to the fork to fit in the patients hand easier. The patient is still completing the daily task of eating breakfast, just in a new way.

As a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), you can work in the field of sports medicine carrying out the occupational therapist’s treatment plan (also known as the intervention plan). Some places occupational therapy assistants work include physical therapy offices and rehabilitation centers, where one might treat sports related injuries. Much like a nurse carries out a doctor’s orders, you’ll work directly with your athletic patient to see the treatment through.

Becoming an occupational therapy assistant can be easier than you think! St. Catherine University offers an online OTA program that can have you graduating in just 16 months. If you’re interested in sports medicine, consider majoring in occupational therapy with an OTA associate's degree. Contact us today to learn more.

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