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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine


Published March 10, 2008 11:36 AM by Brian Ferrie

Possible infringement by other professions is one of the most important issues facing physical therapy today. This issue has been highlighted by the recent lawsuit filed against APTA by the NATA.

The APTA Website states, "The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) on February 1, 2008, filed a lawsuit against APTA and the Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc. in the U.S. District Court in Dallas. The complaint alleges that the APTA and the Section have violated the antitrust laws by seeking to deny athletic trainers (ATCs) access to the market for manual therapy and by coercing physical therapists to refrain from educating ATCs in certain techniques. APTA's counsel is currently reviewing the complaint. APTA believes that the NATA lawsuit is wholly without merit."

The link below details the sequence of events that has taken place, according to APTA. What are your thoughts about these developments?

posted by Brian Ferrie


First, athletic trainers are not personal trainers and typically don't work at "gyms".  They work in healthcare settings.  

Second, I did earn my doctorate in am both an ATC and PT..The training is very similar.  ATC's have something to offer in the clinics.  PT's do not earn a real "doctorate" degree.  When I am with my PhD and MD friends....I certainly don't advertise my tDPT as a doctorate.  The DPT is simply an entry level professional's not respected by academia as a doctorate level degree.  the APTA is mandating the degree for political purposes...not educational.  The DPT degree could easily be a BS degree as it used to be.  

It's not the name of the degree - it's the content of the education that matters...check out the following website on clinical doctorates = joke.

My training as an ATC is = my training as a PT, but better in many ways - especially primary care and pre-hospital care!

P Guil, athletic training - ATC/PT September 21, 2009 4:59 PM

Sorry ATC person. You did not earn a doctorate.. no less any college degree to do your job. The idea that you believe that your training is similiar is the "maniacal" part in all this!

  Perhaps if you were better educated, you could also write a less rambling, ridiculous retort! PT is about the functional health of the person. Perhaps you could learn more about that... maybe at your  next very intensive 1 day seminar?

Jeanne, PT - Senior , kids kabin June 3, 2008 3:14 PM

"their place"?   WOW%0d%0a%0d%0aAthletic trainers are educated and trained in the same competencies as physical therapists....although ATC's have a much larger focus on emergency/pre-hospital care .....To claim that we need to understand our place is maniacal.  %0d%0a%0d%0aDO's and MD's co-exist - PA-C's and NP's co-exist.   Why do PT's think they own the market on physical medicine and rehab.  They don't.  The training is very similar.  The fight is simply about reimbursement and competition in the PMR market.  %0d%0a%0d%0aPT's scared of the ATC's......I think so!!!!%0d%0a%0d%0acompetition is good for patients! %0d%0a%0d%0a

P Guil, AT - ATC, College May 25, 2008 7:28 PM

The "Rush" gym in my town advertises PT sessions. When I asked if they had a PT on staff ( expecting the answer I got!), they looked at me like I had 2 heads. I'm no longer a member there and this is one of the reasons. The APTA has so much on it's plate, but this infringement is a big issue to be taken very seriously. Athletic trainers need to be taught THEIR place and gyms need to stop using our very hard earned credentials to try to fool the public at our profession's expense!

Jeanne March 11, 2008 6:17 PM

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