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Team Concept Conference 2013: A Student's Perspective

By Ciara Burgi, PES, CSCS, SPT


Attending the Sports Physical Therapy Section's Team Concept Conference in December was an incredible experience. Having been to both National Student Conclave and Combined Sections Meeting, I have to say this was my favorite conference to date. As a student, it was truly inspiring to be in a room full people who share my passion for sports physical therapy and amazing to hear leaders in the field present about various topics.


For me, the conference began at 12:00 on Thursday at the TeamMates networking event. Here, "rookies," or those of us who are newer to the field of sports physical therapy are paired up with "captains," who are established professionals in the field. I also had the opportunity to participate in this event at Combined Sections Meeting last year and it was one of my favorite parts of both conferences. As a young clinician, to have the opportunity to talk with an experienced professional about their career trajectory and to make connections with other SPTS members at the event is an invaluable experience. I look forward to the day when I will be able to sign up as a captain and be able to act as a mentor for young professionals. I would encourage everyone to sign up for this event; it is absolutely worth your time. After the TeamMates event, there were three pre-conference breakout sessions to choose from. Truthfully, I wish I could have attended all three!


Friday morning at 7 am, the conference began with three different breakout sessions before the common lectures began at 8. The theme for half of the morning lectures was about the shoulder, with a particular focus on instability. Then a second group of morning lectures covered current concepts in tendinopathy, both lower and upper extremity. Finally, before lunch the keynote speaker, Mark O'Meara, talked to the group about his experiences on the PGA tour. Already after the morning session I felt like my head was full of information and I was blown away by the quality of each of the speakers. The afternoon group of sessions was no exception; the topic of shoulder instability continued with a combination of physical therapists and orthopaedic surgeons further exploring the topic. One of my favorite parts was after a group of lectures there was always a roundtable discussion with all of the speakers. This gave the opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions and the speakers to ask questions of one another. For me, this really highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and initiating intellectual discussions and sharing knowledge with other professionals. The day ended with yet another grouping of four breakout sessions; by 6:30 I was exhausted and ready to head back to my room to rest up for the next day.


Saturday began with a group of three breakout sessions at 7 am and the common lecture beginning again at 8. The theme of the morning was the knee, with the first group of sessions covering ligamentous injuries and the second group giving a comprehensive overview of patellar dysfunction and instability. Again, lectures by some of the leaders in the sports physical therapy field with some of the most renowned orthopaedic surgeons were a winning combination. I truly felt like I got a comprehensive overview of both topics and gained so much useful information from each of the lectures.


I don't want to forget to mention that the breaks between groups of lectures were also very beneficial. It gave me time to interact with some of the exhibitors and talk with other conference attendees.


The afternoon wrapped up with a group of lectures about alternative therapeutic techniques with topics including platelet rich plasma, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, and nutrition. Again, it was so valuable to get an overview of these topics and I really enjoyed each of the lectures. Then it was time to choose from one of four breakout sessions to conclude the conference.


As I made my 5-hour drive back to Phoenix where I'm currently completing a clinical rotation, I felt so encouraged and inspired by the conference. I met so many fantastic people who share my passion for the field of sports physical therapy, had the opportunity to attend lectures from the leaders in the field, and witnessed high-quality interdisciplinary collaboration and information sharing between speakers and conference attendees. I couldn't be more excited to be a young aspiring professional in sports physical therapy and sincerely look forward to attending this conference for many years to come!


Next Wave Student Blog

We are three Physical Therapy Students who have finished the academic curriculum of our doctorate program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. We would like to share our experience with you via blogs, taking you from our first internship experience, to applying and starting new jobs, to growing as clinicians. We will also provide educational pieces and links to help you grow and stay current. As we learn from experience, we hope you will come along for the ride. Our goal is to make this a very active site to communicate ideas, treatments, and asking/answering questions we all have, so we can all grow together! Join us here!


All you need is a ball...
We are pleased to present an article written by two of our student members, Cody Mansfield, ATC, CSCS, SPT and Eileen Strube, LAT, ATC, CSCS, SPT. This article relates their experience when they volunteered at the inaugural First Kick Amputee Soccer Clinic, hosted by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation.
"Each succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method."
-Niccolo Machiavelli
Soccer is the world's most popular sport originating over 3000 years ago. It is played with a ball, two goals and eleven players per side. It's a sport that most thought could only be played by able-bodied individuals with two hands and two legs. However, in 1980, something magical happened. Don Bennett accidentally discovered amputee soccer. He was watching his son play basketball when the ball rolled towards him. He stood, supported by his crutches, without his prosthesis and kicked the soccer ball back to his son. And so amputee soccer was born.
Amputee soccer is similar to traditional soccer, with only a few differences. The field and goals are smaller, and it is a co-ed sport. The outfield positions may have two hands but only one foot. The goalies may have two legs, but only one hand. Most of the outfield positions use forearm crutches to propel themselves across the field. The game is fast paced and fun to play.
A group of physical therapy students from Duke University got a glimpse of this incredible sport when they volunteered at the inaugural First Kick Amputee Soccer Clinic hosted by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation. They provided assistance wherever it was needed. After participants were welcomed and received instruction, the group helped fit everyone with lofstrand crutches. For some, this was their first time ever using crutches. {read more}


2013 Combined Sections Meeting

Ciara Burgi, PES, CSCS, SPT

Attending the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting this January in San Diego was a fantastic experience.  I went into the conference excited to see some of the leaders in sports physical therapy present in the educational sessions and walk around the exhibit hall to see the latest and greatest technology, but left San Diego with so much more than I anticipated.

First of all, the location of the conference could not have been better, especially for me being a first time visitor to California.  Thankfully I was able to fly in a few days early and take time to explore the area because once the conference started there was not a lot of time to be outside soaking up the sun! 

The first morning started out bright and early with the SPTS Teammates Breakfast, which is one of the main mentorship opportunities available within the SPTS.  The goal of this program is to pair students and/or new professionals with established professionals in the section.  Speaking from a student’s perspective, this was extremely beneficial and one of my favorite parts of my whole CSM experience.  Not only did I have the opportunity to meet multiple experienced SPTS members, I also made connections with other students and new professionals, all of whom I hope to maintain contact with.  I only wish the event was longer because it was so exciting to interact with a room of people who share my common interests and are extremely passionate about the field of sports physical therapy.

I really enjoyed attending all of the educational sessions throughout the week.  The conference programming covered such a diverse range of topics, both within and between each of the sections.  Although I primarily went to the educational sessions sponsored by the SPTS, I heard nothing but positive things from my classmates who attended sessions and platforms from many of the different sections.  I also thoroughly enjoyed looking at the posters and attending some of the platform sessions, both of which I hope to be a part of someday.  The exhibit hall was much larger than I expected and was absolutely full of new technology, professional organizations, potential employers, universities, etc.  You name it, the exhibit hall probably had it!

On Tuesday night I attended multiple events, one of them being the SPTS Awards Ceremony.  One thing that continues to surprise me is how approachable everyone is in the sports section.  I had nothing but positive interactions with so many people throughout the conference and it makes me really excited to know that I will be around this great group of people throughout my career. 

One thing that I know some students are considering is a residency or fellowship at some point in their career.  On Wednesday night I attended the Residency and Fellowship Reception, which was another one of my favorite parts of CSM.  Almost all of the residency and fellowship programs had representatives who were there to talk with students about their program.  It was so beneficial for me to not only talk to many of the program directors but also some of the current residents.  I learned so much about the general structure of residency and fellowship programs, what some of the unique features are of each of the programs, what life is like as a resident/fellow, and much more.  It really helped me gain an overall understanding of residencies and certainly gave me a lot to think about.  I highly recommend that students consider attending this event, even if they are not interested in pursing a residency or fellowship.  I learned so much about how important it is to define professional goals as a new graduate and find a position, post-graduation, that parallels with your career goals.

Throughout the week, I, along with some other students, volunteered to help at the SPTS educational sessions and be available incase any of the speakers needed something during the session.  This was a great opportunity for students because we got the opportunity to meet each of the speakers and talk with them a little bit either before or after the session.  I also volunteered at the SPTS booth in the exhibit hall, which was just as fun as when I helped out at National Student Conclave in November.  I loved getting the opportunity to talk with other students and professionals who stop by the booth, helping to promote the SPTS and answer questions.

Whether it was talking to a speaker after an educational session, chatting with members of the SPTS at Teammates or the SPTS Awards Ceremony, or attending the Residency and Fellowship Reception, everyone I met was so willing and excited to take the time to talk with me as well as other students.  Personally, it really makes me feel like I am already part of the profession and makes me even more excited to continue attending conferences and being an active member of the SPTS!


National Student Conclave

Ciara Burgi, PES, CSCS, SPT

In November, I had the opportunity to attend National Student Conclave in Arlington, Virginia.  As a second year student, this is the first national physical therapy conference I’ve attended but it certainly made me excited to attend more conferences in the future. {read more}


Kicking the ball with Chivas USA

Cody Mansfield, SPT, ATC

All my life I have been very passionate about soccer, so when I got the opportunity to interview with the athletic trainers of Chivas USA in the summer of 2010, I was really excited...{read more}



Matt Zanis, SPT, ATC

During the summer of 2010, as a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh I was afforded an amazing opportunity as a training internfor the Pittsburgh Pirates organization...{read more}