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J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1995 Jan;21(1):38-43.

Legal considerations in treating the injured athlete.

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South Texas College of Law, Houston 77002-7000.


This article is intended to inform physical therapists about legal considerations impacting the practice of sports physical therapy. Our objective is to generate an awareness of these issues to enhance the quality of physical therapy provided to injured athletes and to minimize potential legal liability. Three areas in which physical therapists who treat injured athletes need to be particularly careful are: 1) providing treatment designed to enable continued play with an injury before it is fully healed, 2) informing an athlete of the potential health risks of continued athletic activity in his or her physical condition, and 3) evaluating and advising an athlete concerning his or her ability to resume athletic activity. Based on the parallels between industrial rehabilitation and sports physical therapy, the authors propose that consensus objective criteria and guidelines should be established to assist therapists in advising referring physicians and athletes whether return to play is appropriate under the circumstances.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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