ABPTRFE status: Accredited program since November 2020
The mission of the Elon University Sports Physical Therapy residency is to provide physical therapists with advanced didactic instruction and skill development in evidence-based sport-specific clinical practice.
The Elon Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program is a 12-month experience designed to assist the resident in developing clinical expertise in Sports Physical Therapy. The program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Physical Therapy Education (DPTE) and the Department of Athletics. The resident will receive one-on-one mentoring to enhance clinical skills, develop classroom teaching skills, complete 300 hours of didactic education, and develop a line of clinical inquiry. The experience will be closely aligned with Elon University Athletics and the resident will provide more than 1,500 hours of clinical services to this population.
The curriculum for the Elon Sports Physical Therapy (ESPT) residency program has four modules. Each module builds on the resident’s foundational knowledge, clinical decision-making & psychomotor skills, and professionalism in the Division I sports setting. The curriculum is closely aligned with Elon’s core Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program housed in the Department of Physical Therapy Education (DPTE) in the School of Health Sciences. This alignment allows the ESPT residency program to leverage the learning, teaching, and professional development opportunities available during the delivery of a DPT program. The curriculum is intentionally designed so that, upon completion of the residency, the resident is prepared to successfully sit for the ABPTS specialist certification exam in Sports and be able to function as a practicing physical therapist at the highest level in Division I sports environment.
The first module (Module I: 4 weeks) will focus on topics related to administration and ethical and legal standards. A strong appreciation of the administrative workings of DPTE and Elon University’s Athletic Department will provide the ESPT resident with a solid foundation for their success during the residency program. Particular attention will be paid to the ethical and legal standards necessary for success in a Division I sports environment. The resident’s didactic learning during Module I will include assignments that will compare and contrast Elon’s administrative structure and function to other institutions.
The second module (Module II: 12 weeks) will have weekly didactic topics that will advance the resident’s foundational knowledge and ability in anatomy & physiology, the neuromuscular system, critical inquiry, and psychomotor skills of a sports physical therapist. During this time period, the resident will participate in limited teaching opportunities in the core DPT curriculum by working with anatomy laboratory groups (1st-year DPT students) and providing individual lectures on topics associated with the neuromuscular system (2nd-year DPT students) (e.g. concussion management). At this time, the resident will advance their inclusion into the treatment team model used in Division I sports (physical therapist, athletic trainer, strength & conditioning coach, and physician). The resident will work with their mentor to develop and implement treatment plans reflective of the treatment team’s goals for the athlete. The resident will have an opportunity to treat post-operative patients, observe surgery with the team physician, and participate in injury prevention research that Elon DPTE and the Elon Athletics Performance team have already established. During this time, the resident will also choose their own research topic and design an investigation that will be completed during their residency.
Module III (12 weeks) will be a continuation of a rigorous coverage and development of an understanding of the Sports DRP umbrella topics. Pathology and pathophysiology, movement science, and health & wellness topics will be new areas to explore in Module III. We believe that once the foundational knowledge and the balance of the Sports DRP practice topics have been reviewed then more complex application and understanding of core knowledge can be achieved through the examination of sports-specific issues. For example, to understand the biomechanics of throwing it will be important to have mastery of shoulder anatomy and basic evaluation/treatment topics related to throwing athletes. The resident will begin data collection for their research question during Module III. Module III will also provide the resident with a more in-depth opportunity to develop their teaching skills by assisting with the delivery of an advanced orthopedics course to DPT (3rd-year) students. In this role, the resident will present on their clinical specialty and provide one-on-one mentorship to DPT students.
Module IV (18 weeks) will include the Elon Athletics fall competitive season. By this time in the program, the resident will be comfortable and well prepared to handle traumatic and non-traumatic injuries. The resident will be completely integrated and working collaboratively and independently with the Elon Athletics treatment team. The only new topic area covered in this module will be related to sports performance. The sequence of learning will equip the resident to be ready for these higher-level topics as the foundational knowledge will be mastered by this time in the curriculum. The resident will complete and present their research topic during this module. The resident will also have a capstone teaching experience in the Elon DPT program by leading instruction for a limited period of time (approx. 1-2 weeks) in one of the introductory orthopedic courses (1st-year students).
Throughout the residency, there will be a few continuous activities that will be used to assist in the development of the resident. For example, there are one to two weeks after every module that will be a chance to stop and reflect on outcomes and DRP learning domains and health conditions to endure the resident has a very thorough experience. Furthermore, starting in Module I the resident will lead a weekly journal club for all university members (faculty, staff, and students) that will reflect the resident’s understanding of the topics covered in that module and foster development of strong evidence-based practices.
Total Hours of the Elon Sports residency program: 2,174
- Education hours: 384
- Mentor time for clinical learning Director meetings
- Journal club
- Lectures in Elon DPTE as TA/guest lecturer
- Independent study with an online platform
- Research project
- Skills lab
- Lectures from residency faculty and program guest lecturers Shadowing physicians
- Patient care hours: 1440
- ElonRUNS clinic
- Elon Athletics (Schar and field house athletic training room)
- Mentor hours: 150
- Sports Coverage: 200
Watch this brief introduction video to learn more about our faculty (video by Brian Aimerich, Elon ’23).
Take a tour of our facilities (video by Brian Aimerich, Elon ’23).
Applicants for the Elon University Sports Residency are requested to submit an application on RF-PTCAS including curriculum vitae or resume, 2 letters of reference (3rd optional), transcripts, and two short essays:
- Please describe your career objectives in 250 words or less; and
- In 500 words or less please describe why Elon should select you as our next sports resident (Please include specific examples)
Applications open in January and close in August for the following year’s resident (e.g. deadline August 2021 for the resident starting in January 2022). Refer to the RF-PTCAS website for the most updated deadlines.
The Selection Committee consists of a minimum of 3 members of the Residency Steering Committee (the program director, Elon University’s Head Athletic Trainer, a program faculty member who is also a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy). The Selection Committee will meet in person and all of the applicants will be ranked. A maximum of 3 applicants will be interviewed for each available Resident position. All interviews will be completed by mid-October and the successful applicant notified by November 1st. The applications are initially evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Academic education and performance
- Clinical education and mentoring experiences (note – no academic credit is awarded or transferred from other programs)
- Clinical experience in sports physical therapy
- Letters of recommendation
- Community service related to sports physical therapy
Minimal eligibility requirements for acceptance into the program include:
- Unencumbered licensure, or the ability to obtain, as a Physical Therapist in North Carolina.
- APTA member in good standing
Desirable characteristics include athletic training experience, at least one year of clinical practice as a licensed physical therapist, clinical research experience, strong motivation to advance clinical knowledge, strong communication skills, evidence of initiative, evidence of service-based mentality, ability to effectively work in a team environment and high level of self-responsibility.
For more information please email Elon Sports Physical Therapy Residency program director Shefali Christopher PT, DPT, LAT, ATC (firstname.lastname@example.org).