Advanced Concepts in PT Practice

Dr. Shannon Scanlan, PT, DPT | 04/12/2023

Finding their niche: PT majors explore Advanced Pediatrics, Rehabilitation of the Barbell Athlete, and Adaptive Sports

Advanced concepts in PT-barbell rehab, adaptive sports, and pediatric

Advanced Concepts in PT Practice

Physical therapy majors at Saint Francis University must master the foundational patient-management classes included in the Doctor of Physical Therapy  degree curriculum. Yet they can also explore areas of specialty practice. Special Topic Courses are a practical way for students, as part of their physical therapy education, to discover areas of PT practice that they may be passionate about. For the Spring 2023 semester, the PT department offered our students three separate specialty tracks as part of Advanced Concepts in PT Practice: Advanced Pediatrics, Rehabilitation of the Barbell Athlete, and Adaptive Sports. 

Our Advanced Concepts in PT classes allow students to find their niche and “become that someone” with their PT degree from SFU. Different special topics classes will be offered in the next semester for our DPT students to further explore more specialty areas of practice.

Advanced PT Pediatrics

In the PT program’s Advanced Pediatrics course, students are focused on the variety of practice settings where pediatric clients are treated. As part of this class, the PT students examined specific assessment tools for the pediatric population and have put the assessment tools into practice. They visited Milestone Physical Therapy in Bedford, PA, a local clinic specializing in pediatric client management. At this physical therapy pediatric clinic, students could work with various pediatric PT patients, use newer technology for treatment, and interact with the patients’ parents. Through this specialized track, our students have explored the depth of knowledge and potential practice available within pediatric patient management. 

Barbell PT Rehab

In Rehabilitation of the Barbell Athlete, PT majors are studying a variety of compound lifts. They have been focusing on proper mechanics with these lifts, and in assessment of mechanic breakdown. If done inappropriately, compound lifts can lead to pain, so the students have delved further into how mechanic breakdown can lead to pain in various body parts. They have studied how to create or adjust exercise programs to continue lifting programs without risk for further injury and pain. Case studies have been utilized to apply concepts learned in the class to practical application examples. These concepts are so important for sports and orthopedic physical therapists managing injuries related to lifting and Crossfit programs. 

Physical Therapy in Adaptive Sports

Finally, the PT program’s Adaptive Sports class has been taking a deep dive into disability rights, disability identity, and how people participate in sports despite their disability. The PT majors have taken a hands-on approach to explore different adaptive sports, how they are played, and who is appropriate for those sports. The students participated in sports including adaptive Crossfit, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, goalball, adaptive bocce, adaptive swimming, and adaptive bowling. The students will complete their studies with research and presentations of even more adaptive sports.

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Majoring in Physical Therapy at SFU

The DPT program at SFU is an on-campus major with direct-entry and graduate admissions paths.

To learn more about our program visit: 

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About the Author

Dr. Shannon Scanlan is a clinical  assistant professor physical therapy  at Saint Francis University .  She graduated from Saint Francis University in 2011 and has been working clinically in outpatient orthopedic setting with specific focus in orthopedic issues related to the geriatric population, pre and postoperative orthopedic management, balance training, and concussion/vestibular management. She obtained her Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 2019. She is passionate about serving as a leader in the professional association and in engagement of leaders early on in their careers. Outside of physical therapy she enjoys bicycling, baking, reading, and participating in the sport of curling.