Physical therapists (PTs) serve a crucial role in the lives of people who live with a physical disability. As with any client, PTs can help improve the quality of life by increasing mobility and motion thus making the activities of daily living easier and safer. But PTs can serve an even greater role in the lives of their clients with physical disability.
With the London 2012 Paralympic Games just behind us, examples of elite sport and athletes with physical disability have never enjoyed more publicity than in the last few months. From the Meet the Superhumans ads that ran on British TV Channel 4 and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTamH__xuQ) to Oscar Pistorius representing South Africa in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, very few people doubt the capabilities of elite athletes with physical disability. But does the average person living with a physical disability know all the options that are available to them through sport and recreation?
While few would doubt a PT’s ability to serve the needs of a client with a physical disability, does the average PT also have the general knowledge of all the options that exist in the world of sport and recreation for people living with a physical disability? Can the average PT serve as a knowledgeable resource for a client with a recently acquired spinal cord injury who mentions their love for basketball prior to their injury by telling her about wheelchair basketball and the National Wheelchair Basketball Association? A client with cerebral palsy who is ambulatory and loves soccer by directing him to 7-a-side football? A person with a visual impairment that is an avid and competitive runner who is rehabbing a chronic injury by discussing the competitive opportunities in Paralympic track and road racing?
As professionals who will likely come in contact with people with a physical disability it is a great advantage for a PT to have a working knowledge of adapted and disability sport and recreation as well as the Paralympic Games in order to holistically serve the client. You never know when you might be the first person to open the door to a whole new world for one of your clients.
BlazeSports offers a certification program that ensures you will have the ability to open these doors and change lives. The Certified Disability Sport Specialist (CDSS) program provides a curriculum and resources that will enhance existing credentials such as PT, OT, CTRS, CPRP and others by demonstrating specialized knowledge is disability and adapted sport. To find out more about the CDSS program and how you can enhance your ability to serve clients with a physical disability, visit http://www.blazesports.org/resources/professional-development/.
Have you had a PT that changed your life by introducing you to an adapted or disability sport? If so, we would love to hear from you!
For more information on National Physical Therapy Month visit the American Physical Therapy Association website at www.apta.org.