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Emergency Management for Sports Therapy (New)

Develop the essential skills for the physical therapist and athletic trainer providing sideline and courtside coverage for athletic events.

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About this Certificate Program

The sports medicine professional must be trained and have practiced the management of any emergency condition that could occur. These practice sessions should take place prior to the season and incorporate all individuals associated with the care of the athlete. This includes those individuals on the sidelines, including physicians, emergency care personnel, coaches, and other individuals identified by the emergency care team. In some instances, the injuries sustained can be life-threatening. Coordination of this team for on-field and off-field treatment ensures effective treatment of these athletes. Knowing how to treat, diagnose, and manage return to play for sports injuries is essential for protecting the athlete. This certificate program provides an in-depth discussion of injuries, protective equipment, hydration, and heat injuries.

Target Audience

Physical therapists
Physical therapist assistants
Certified athletic trainers
Strength and conditioning specialists

Goals & Objectives

  • Understand the importance of an emergency action plan and the initial assessment following injury
  • Describe, understand, and manage the different types of shock and sudden cardiac arrest in athletes, including commodio cordis
  • Describe, assess, and properly manage visceral injuries and injuries to the face and neck
  • Recognize and properly manage musculoskeletal injuries
  • Recognize, understand, and manage heat- and cold-related illness
  • Recognize and protect athletes exposed to lightning
  • Develop and properly fit moldable protective equipment for the athlete

What's Included in the Certificate Program

Accredited Online Courses*

15 hours of online video lectures and patient demonstrations.

Case Study Interviews

Recorded Q&A sessions between instructors and practice managers.

Interactive Learning Assessments

Case-based quizzes to evaluate and improve clinical reasoning.

Section 1: Emergency Management

7 Chapters

Emergency Management of Soft-Tissue Injurieskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to Soft-Tissue InjuriesChapter 1

    This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the most common soft-tissue injuries seen in sport, including both closed and open wounds.

  • Sprains and StrainsChapter 2

    Sprains and strains are among the most common orthopedic injuries seen in athletes, both inside of the clinic and on the sidelines. This chapter will review the soft tissue’s response to injury as well as healing timelines for common sprains and strains.

  • Acute and Emergency Response to Soft-Tissue InjuriesChapter 3

    The sports physical therapist has an obligation to respond quickly to soft-tissue and bleeding injuries in order to avoid further damage or significant loss of blood that could result in death. In this lab-based chapter, the sports medicine team of Katie Whetstone and Todd Arnold will show viewers how to respond appropriately in the case of significant soft-tissue injury, including the use of a tourniquet to stop severe bleeding.

  • ShockChapter 4

    In this chapter, Katie Whetstone delves into a life-threatening condition: shock. This chapter covers the types and causes of shock and relates each type of shock to athletic conditions. Different signs and symptoms of shock are discussed, and the important steps for treatment of shock are detailed.

  • Soft-Tissue Question and AnswerChapter 5

    Todd and Katie share their experiences with open and closed soft-tissue injuries in this question and answer session on emergency management of soft-tissue injuries.

  • View full course details »

Environmental Considerations for the Athletekeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to Heat ConditionsChapter 1

    This chapter will provide an introduction to heat-related injuries and the importance of quick and effective decision-making in the presence of harsh environmental conditions. In hot conditions, the body can often lose control of its thermoregulation, resulting in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or death. This chapter discusses the importance of maintaining equilibrium in hot and/or humid conditions. We will also provide a basic review of the body’s mechanisms, such as sweating and shivering, that maintain normal body temperature in both hot and cold conditions.

  • Introduction to Cold ConditionsChapter 2

    The most common cold-related conditions athletes experience are hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is described as a general cooling of the body, while frostbite is the freezing of body tissues. This chapter will describe the different stages of each of the injuries, as well as treatment and prevention options.

  • Lightning SafetyChapter 3

    Outdoor sporting events pose a unique risk to the athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators due to the chance of lightning-related injury. This chapter will discuss the protocol for treating lightning injuries, including a safety assessment of the area, evaluation and treatment options, and prevention guidelines, including the flash-to-bang ratio.

  • HydrationChapter 4

    Dehydration can affect the physical and mental performance of athletes and often is not recognized until after the athlete is dehydrated. This chapter will discuss signs, symptoms, and treatment strategies for dehydration, as well as tactics to get the athlete to remain hydrated throughout training and competition without becoming overhydrated.

  • Travel-Related IllnessesChapter 5

    Regardless of location, the illness and fatigue that often comes with travel can become very limiting to athletes at all ages and competition levels. For athletes who travel to areas of high elevation for sport and competition, altitude-related illnesses are likely and can lead to very serious conditions. This chapter discusses the signs, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of travel-related conditions such as altitude sickness and jet lag.

  • View full course details »

Emergency Management of Cardiovascular Conditionskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Cardiovascular Conditions in the AthleteChapter 1

    This chapter will introduce common conditions that are associated with sudden cardiac death and address athletic participation for those with known cardiovascular conditions. The use of preparticipation exams to screen for cardiovascular disorders will be discussed.

  • Sickle Cell TraitChapter 2

    This chapter discusses the unusual situation of sickle cell trait in an athlete. Katie Whetstone covers exertional sickling, situations that affect sickling, and death as a result of sickle cell trait. Finally, this chapter covers the signs and symptoms of sickling, and precautions and treatment for athletes with sickle cell trait.

  • Sudden Cardiac DeathChapter 3

    This chapter provides an overview of sudden cardiac death in athletes and discusses the role of the sports physical therapist in the emergency response to a cardiovascular-compromised athlete.

  • Emergency Response for Cardiovascular ConditionsChapter 4

    In this lab simulation chapter, Todd Arnold and Katie Whetstone will review the use of the most important tool available in cardiovascular emergencies: the automated external defibrillator.

  • View full course details »

Emergency Management of Athletes With Spine and Visceral Injurieskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to the Emergency Action PlanChapter 1

    It is inevitable that at some point, the sports physical therapist will be involved in the decision-making process of sending an athlete to the hospital through Emergency Medical Services. These are the scariest and most heart-pounding moments of performing sideline coverage at sporting events. Every move the sports physical therapist makes in these situations is crucial to the overall outcome for the athlete. When in a life-and-death emergency, the sports physical therapist’s decision-making needs to be conservative and second nature. This chapter will introduce the possible life-changing spinal and visceral injuries that can occur in sports. In addition, this chapter emphasizes the importance of an emergency action plan, informs the viewer of the essential components of an emergency action plan, and provides rules of evaluation for an injury on the sidelines and on the field.

  • Spinal InjuriesChapter 2

    When an athlete goes down and is not moving, the sports physical therapist must know how to perform an initial assessment and thorough but quick evaluation of the athlete to determine the nature of the injury. When considering potential spinal injuries, quick thinking and differential diagnosis are key. In this chapter, Katie Whetstone covers spinal anatomy and symptoms of various conditions involving the spine. In addition, a step-by-step approach to evaluation of the potential spinal injury is given.

  • Emergency Response to the Spine-Injured AthleteChapter 3

    In this lab demonstration, the sports medicine team runs to the side of an athlete who is down and is not moving. Viewers can follow along with the step-by-step initial assessment and evaluation of the athlete, which eventually leads to spine boarding and emergency transportation of the athlete.

  • Visceral InjuriesChapter 4

    This chapter covers a variety of visceral injuries and focuses especially on chest and abdominal injuries and their common referral patterns. Katie Whetstone emphasizes typical mechanisms of injury, signs and symptoms, and acute management for a variety of visceral injuries.

  • Spinal and Visceral Injuries Q&AChapter 5

    In this interview-style chapter, the sports medicine team of Todd Arnold and Katie Whetstone share their experiences in the acute management of spinal and visceral injuries prior to hospital transport.

  • View full course details »

Emergency Management of Skeletal Injurieskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to Skeletal InjuriesChapter 1

    In this introductory chapter, Katie Whetstone will provide a description of commonly seen skeletal injuries as well as key components of an acute assessment of the potential skeletally injured athlete.

  • FracturesChapter 2

    Whether big bones or small, fractures are one of the more common injuries that the sports physical therapist will need to address acutely. Sometimes fractures can be relatively minor and easy to address, such as a fracture of a toe or finger; however, many times fractures are emergencies that can be associated with life-threatening conditions like shock and distress. In this chapter, Katie Whetstone will address the common types of fractures seen in the athletic population, as well as considerations for acute management of fractures when attempting to immobilize in the field.

  • DislocationsChapter 3

    Second to fractures, dislocations are among the most frequently occurring injuries seen during sporting events, especially during contact sports; however, sports physical therapists are limited in the acute management of dislocations. During this chapter on dislocations, Katie Whetstone will review the common joint dislocations that occur in sport, as well as the typical athlete presentation associated with dislocation. In addition, Katie will review the role of the sports physical therapist as it relates to treatment of acute joint dislocation.

  • Immobilization LabChapter 4

    Immobilization is the standard of care in the acute management of fractures and dislocations in the field. In this chapter, the sports medicine team will demonstrate the various types of splinting immobilization techniques.

  • Return to SportChapter 5

    Return-to-play decision-making after fractures can be complicated as it is multifactorial. In this chapter, Katie Whetstone will discuss typical bone healing times, weight-bearing precautions and restrictions, and general return-to-play criteria following a fracture or dislocation.

  • View full course details »

Protective Sports Equipment and Proper Fittingkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to Protective EquipmentChapter 1

    Protective equipment is our first line of defense against injury in sport, but in order to be protective, equipment must be utilized and worn correctly. In this chapter, Katie Whetstone will introduce the history of protective equipment in sports as well as the legal obligations of the sports physical therapist to utilize the protective equipment correctly.

  • Head and Face ProtectionChapter 2

    This chapter will emphasize the types of head and face protection that are on the market by demonstrating helmets, face masks, jaw pads, mouth guards, eye protection, and more. Katie Whetstone and Todd Arnold will walk viewers through the steps of proper helmet fitting.

  • Neck, Trunk, and Thorax ProtectionChapter 3

    In this chapter, Katie Whetstone and Todd Arnold will show multiple options for neck, trunk, and thorax protection, including shoulder pads, cowboy collars, chest and rib protectors, protective cups, and more. The chapter also provides a demonstration of proper shoulder pad fitting.

  • Upper- and Lower-Extremity ProtectionChapter 4

    Protection and braces for upper- and lower-extremity injuries are easy to purchase over the counter, but how does one know the correct equipment to buy and when medical grade or custom equipment is preferable to over-the-counter equipment? In this chapter, Todd Arnold and Katie Whetstone will discuss types of shoe wear, muscle protection, orthotics, guards, and braces for the upper and lower extremities.

  • View full course details »

Exertional Heat Illnesseskeyboard_arrow_down

  • IntroductionChapter 1

    Introduce course topics and outline course structure and objectives, including the definitions, etiology, recognition, treatment, and prevention of exertional heat illnesses, including exercise-associated muscle cramps, exertional heat exhaustion and heat syncope, exertional heat stroke, and exertional sickling.

  • Exercise-Associated Muscle CrampsChapter 2

    Compare definitions commonly used to diagnosis muscle cramping. List common EAMC etiologies that have been identified in research. Identify key signs and symptoms associated with EAMC. Outline treatment options that can be used for EAMC patients. Recommend prevention strategies associated with the most common etiologies.

  • Exertional Heat Exhaustion and Heat SyncopeChapter 3

    Differentiate between the two common etiologies of exertional heat exhaustion. Identify key signs and symptoms associated with exertional heat exhaustion and syncope. Outline the basic treatment course for exertional heat exhaustion and syncope patients. Recommend prevention strategies for exertional heat exhaustion.

  • Exertional Heat StrokeChapter 4

    Differentiate between exertional and classical heat stroke definitions. Explain the physiological etiology of exertional heat stroke. Compare the key signs and symptoms associated with exertional heat stroke as opposed to exertional heat exhaustion. Judge exertional heat stroke treatment options to determine the best patient outcome. Propose prevention strategies based on the predisposing factors associated with exertional heat stroke. Generalize return to activity guidelines for exertional heat stroke victims.

  • Exertional SicklingChapter 5

    Recognize etiologies commonly involved with exertional sickling events. Differentiate key signs and symptoms associated with exertional sickling events as compared to other heat illnesses. List basic treatments for patients experiencing an exertional sickling event. Recommend prevention strategies for exercising sickle cell trait individuals.

  • View full course details »
Katie Whetstone


Susan Yeargin


CEU Approved

15 total hours* of accredited coursework.
MedBridge accredits each course individually so you can earn CEUs as you progress.

      Our clinic could not be happier with MedBridge.

Amy Lee, MPT, OCS
Physical Therapy Central

       MedBridge has allowed us to create a culture of learning that we were previously unable to attain with traditional coursework.

Zach Steele, PT, DPT, OCS
Outpatient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services

    MedBridge has created a cost-effective and quality platform that is the future of online education.

Grant R. Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE
Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get CEU credit?
Each course is individually accredited. Please check each course for your state and discipline. You can receive CEU credit after each course is completed.

When do I get my certificate?
You will receive accredited certificates of completion for each course as you complete them. Once you have completed the entire Certificate Program you will receive your certificate for the program.

*Accreditation Hours
Each course is individually accredited and exact hours will vary by state and discipline. Check each course for specific accreditation for your license.

Do I have to complete the courses in order?
It is not required that you complete the courses in order. Each Certificate Program's content is built to be completed sequentially but it is not forced to be completed this way.

How long do I have access to the Certificate Program?
You will have access to this Certificate Program for as long as you are a subscriber. Your initial subscription will last for one year from the date you purchase.

Sample Certificate

Sample Certificate

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