ATI Physical Therapy, a physical therapy provider based in Bolingbrook, Ill, is applying its own independent research in combination with advances in sports rehabilitation treatment to help combat a sharp rise in sports-related injuries and facilitate return-to-play.

One of the practice’s recent studies, described as “a well-monitored preseason baseball training program,” is reported to have shown improvement in arm flexibility and strength for high school pitchers which contributed to a diminished risk of arm injury. Pitchers who had previous injuries and participated in the preseason training program were four times less likely to suffer an injury than those in the general arm care program, according to the study.

The practice plans to showcase data from some of the recent study it has conducted, including a presentation at the 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting that shows 87% of athletes who follow and complete the practice’s own ATI ACL rehabilitation program after ACL reconstruction were able to complete the next season without injury.

“We’re seeing amateur athletes, youth and mature, come in to our clinics for sports injuries on an increasing basis; however, there isn’t one sport that is entirely to blame,” says Charles Thigpen, PhD, PT, ATC, Clinical Research Specialist for ATI Physical Therapy and Director of Observational Clinical Research in Ortho­paedics with the Center for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences at the University of South Carolina.  “Rather, younger athletes that specialize in one sport, year around without adequate rest seem to drive these injuries. For the mature athlete matching recovery time and lack of cross-training appears to be most to blame.”

Papers that reveal findings about hip injuries among female athletes and low-back issues for the adolescent athlete reportedly will be available soon.

Sports-related injuries affect a broad spectrum of participants, and a media release from ATI underscores that range by reporting that young athletes visit hospital ERs for sports-related injury more than 1 million times per year while among adult athletes age 35 years to 54 years more than half a million injuries for basketball and another 2 million injuries for bicycling, football and other sports occur each year

Increasing rates of injury is also evident in professional sports. The 2000s had injuries increase in three major U.S. sports: The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. An analysis of NFL injury data shows that the number of injuries mandating a player miss eight days of play jumped every year from 2009 to 2012.[3]

[Source: ATI Physical Therapy]

[1] Safe Kids Worldwide. (2013, August 5). 1.35 Million Children Seen in Emergency Rooms for Sports-Related Injuries [Press release]. Retrieved from

[2] Gordon, S. (2007, August 30). More Kids Are Suffering Sports Injuries. Retrieved from

[3] David, J. (2013, August 29). Analysis of NFL Injuries. Retrieved from