Sports Physical Therapy Residency

Fairview Health Services offers an accredited one-year, August 1 to July 31, Sports Physical Therapy Residency to physical therapists seeking to advance their training in sports medicine. Up to two physical therapists are accepted annually for the program. Fairview Sports Physical Therapy Residency, formerly named Minnesota Sports Medicine Sports Physical Therapy Residency, is credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in sports medicine.

About the residency
Residents work side-by-side sports medicine and orthopedic physicians, sports physical therapists and athletic trainers who bring advanced training in sports medicine. Coursework includes a mix of direct clinical care, physician and surgery observation, research, athletic training observation, and a variety of educational activities that include one-to-one mentoring sessions and weekly sports medicine grand rounds.

Program graduates will:

  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to administrate a community-focused physical therapy practice that serves high school, collegiate, professional and recreational athletes
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide advanced sports physical therapy care for athletes, including the study of the pathology and biomechanics of athletic injuries and the physical and psychological manifestations of sports injuries and conditions
  • Develop professional and interpersonal patient-care skills necessary to an outpatient and on-field sports medicine setting
  • Participate as a member of a sports medicine team that includes primary care sports medicine specialists, orthopedic surgeons and certified athletic trainers
  • Develop skills to design, implement and complete a community-focused sports medicine research study and publish the results
  • Enhance their preparation for certification as a specialist in sports physical therapy

Curriculum overview
The majority of the Resident’s education consists of patient care in an outpatient, integrated orthopedic sports clinic. The first several weeks are spent one-on-one with the Program Director in patient care, initially in an observatory role, then in a participatory role with supervision. This promotes ongoing dialogue and education focused on evaluation and appropriate rehabilitation program design for athletes. The curriculum organization is largely driven by the yearly sports schedule, which ranges from non-contact to contact sports.

Other curriculum components include:
1. Physical therapy content expert mentoring. Residents shadow and/or co-treat with practicing physical therapists at Institute for Athletic Medicine (IAM) clinics.

2. Shadow special programs offered at the IAM that focus on advanced evaluation and treatment of athletes, including runners, throwers, golfers, cyclists and dancers. Program components include biomechanical assessments with videotape analysis of athletes.

3. Residents teach one or more “Next Step” training program sessions. Next Step is a post-rehabilitation training program designed to help patients “bridge the gap” from patient to athlete. This structured setting challenges the athlete to improve neuromuscular control, strengthening, proprioception and agility through training that includes plyometrics and return-to-sports exercises.

4. Weekly feedback sessions are scheduled and include case studies and discussion about patient evaluation, treatment and care plans initiated by the Resident.

5. Residents assist in teaching sports medicine classes focusing on specific topics to DPT students at a local university as well as to incoming family practice sports medicine physician residents.

Weekly hours (may vary)
Clinical practice: 25
One-on-one supervision: 3-4
Classroom instruction: 2-4
Laboratory instruction: 1-2
On-field: 2-4
Training room: 2-4
Physician shadowing: 2-4
Sports coverage: up to 24/week (intermittent)
Research: 4
Other (Journal Club, etc.): 1-2

Education methods
Didactic and interactive teaching includes conferences and labs, presentations, imaging conferences and complicated case reviews.

Education methods include:
1. In-clinic patient evaluation and diagnosis. Patient care emphasizes a wide variety of upper and lower extremity cases typical of a sports therapy practice - shoulder; knee; ankle; hip; spine; elbow and wrist.

2. Operating room observation

3. Weekly basic sciences, rehabilitation, team conferences.
Curriculum varies.

4. Weekly on-field/team and training room observation

5. Journal Clubs - Fairview sponsored, monthly. Resident will present a journal article each Club meeting.

6. Twin Cities Sports Medicine Conference - October

7. Annual two-day Current Concepts in Sports Medicine Conference - Spring

8. Ongoing research project. Residents choose one of two options to complete the research requirement.

9. Ongoing community-based sports medicine project. Residents choose and complete a community-based sports medicine project.

10. Community event coverage through the Minnesota State High School League. Residents are required to provide event coverage at two to three events annually.

Residents are evaluated throughout the year in a number of ways, in accordance with recommendations made by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). These evaluations are used to improve the Residents’ performance and strengthen the curriculum:

1. Quarterly 360 degree evaluation by faculty and other staff who interact with them (athletic trainers, administrative) via an online evaluation tool. A similar evaluation tool, completed by the Residents, provides feedback about faculty, the curriculum and Resident structure.

2. Completion of conference and procedure logs.

3. Clinical/case presentations at weekly Sports Medicine Grand Rounds Conference - two annually.

4. Evidence-based Journal Club presentations; monthly.

5. Quarterly Case/Record Review by faculty - a review of patient records and comparison of findings against accepted patient care standards.

6. Simulations/Models assessing knowledge of procedural skills.

7. Completion of at least one Research Project; presented at year-end at Annual Fellowship and Resident Dinner.

8. Completion of a Community-based Sports Medicine Project.

9. Individualized Learning Plan - Residents identify three learning objectives for the year and strategies to achieve them. This plan will be reviewed throughout the year.

Residency Salary and Benefits
Salary for the Residency is $37,500 per year. Health, dental, disability and malpractice insurance are included as are two weeks of vacation.

Applying to our Program
The Fairview Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program participates in the APTA American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education centralized application process called RF-PTCAS. 

About the Residency Faculty
Residency Director and physical therapist Peter Ames, PT, PhD, SCS brings more than fifteen years experience to the program. His wide-ranging background includes working in private practice, serving as a traveling physical therapist, and working in the United Kingdom as a Senior 1 physiotherapist. Ames recently completed his doctorate in orthopedic and sports physical therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah. He is a published author in JOSPT and has presented both locally and nationally. Ames sees patients at the Institute for Athletic Medicine in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in addition to his residency responsibilities and professional athletes.

More than ten residency faculty bring advanced training and clinical skills in a full spectrum of sports-related injuries. Residents work with faculty throughout the year at rehabilitation clinics located in the Twin Cities area.

Questions about the Residency may be directed to Peter Ames, Residency Director, at 952-944-5314 or by email at
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