Sports Rehabilitation and Interprofessional Collaboration

  • Nicholas B Washmuth Samford University
  • James M Sepich
  • Abby D McAfee


Background: The demand for interprofessional collaboration continues to grow due to changing priorities of the health care system.  The benefits of interprofessional collaboration are well documented; however, the methods of collaboration are often unclear and often difficult to put into practice.  While there is a growing number of studies on the impact of interprofessional collaboration in settings such as inpatient, intensive care units, and acute care, there are limited documented cases regarding the interprofessional management of a physical therapy patient in the outpatient orthopedic private practice setting.  

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the reflections of a physical therapist and an athletic trainer in their experience with interprofessional collaboration, describe the barriers they have experienced that make interprofessional collaboration challenging, and to offer solutions to these barriers.  The barriers discussed in the paper include limited knowledge of and respect for other professionals’ skill set, high-productivity work environments, medical hierarchy, overlapping bodies of knowledge, discrepancy between professional reasoning, territorial behavior, and ineffective communication. 

Discussion: It appears that contextual factors, such as community in which the professionals practice, the healthcare setting, and the practice environment, have a far less important impact to successful collaboration than the professionals’ attitudes and investment in the collaborative efforts. 

Conclusion: Collaboration between a PT and an AT can lead to power struggles and suboptimal patient care if these barriers are not overcome and collaboration may be necessary to provide the highest quality of patient care.

Author Biographies

Nicholas B Washmuth, Samford University

Nicholas B. Washmuth serves as Assistant Professor at Samford University.  He is an Orthopedic Board Certified Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.  In addition, he also has his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and his Doctor of Manual Therapy degree from Ola Grimsby Institute.  He continues to refine his clinical skill set while working in private practice.  His areas of clinical focus include mobilizations and manipulations, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, and exercise prescription. Educationally, his content areas courses related to anatomy, biomechanics, and orthopedic clinical skills. 

James M Sepich

James M. Sepich received his Bachelors in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Athletic Training from Western Illinois University in 2007. He started working for Monroe Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in 2009 as an Outreach Athletic Trainer. He now works for ATI Physical Therapy as a Sports Medicine Supervisor and has been the athletic trainer at Columbia High School in Columbia, IL for the past 10 years. He has a ITAT certification with ImPACT Neurocognitive Testing for concussion management and is Certified in Graston Technique.

Abby D McAfee

Abby D. McAfee received her DPT from Saint Louis University in 2011 and her OCS in 2015.  She directs an outpatient PT clinic in Columbia, IL and serves as an adjunct professor with Saint Louis University.  Her main areas of interest include musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, and treatment with emphasis on manual interventions and dry needling. 


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How to Cite
WASHMUTH, Nicholas B; SEPICH, James M; MCAFEE, Abby D. Sports Rehabilitation and Interprofessional Collaboration. International Archives of Medicine, [S.l.], v. 12, oct. 2019. ISSN 1755-7682. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 june 2023. doi:
Sports Medicine