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Sports Physical Therapy Residency Curriculum

Our year-long training program provides abundant clinical, academic and research experiences in a dynamic sports physical therapy setting. You’ll graduate with advanced clinical skills for an exciting career in sports physical therapy.

How to apply

Curriculum overview

You’ll spend most of your time on patient care, evaluating and treating injured athletes in our regionally based sports medicine practice in Onalaska, Wis. You'll have have time to teach in the musculoskeletal curriculum in the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. We also provide space for established mentored experiences in advanced clinical practice, athletic training, observing physicians and surgeries, clinical research and participating in educational experiences. 


Training schedule

As a sports physical therapy resident, your structured learning experiences include: 

Patient care (50%)

You'll evaluate and treat a limited load of patients with a variety of musculoskeletal pathologies found in sports physical therapy. This includes management of patients with pathology of the knee, shoulder, foot, ankle and spine. Biomechanical analysis of the following is also common: gait, throwing, golf and cycling. We provide time for one-to-one clinical instruction between you and a mentor. Clinical practice under the supervision of the mentor allows you to develop psychomotor skills and clinical reasoning processes to evaluate and treat sports-related injuries. 

Educational activities (10-15%)

You'll participate in educational activities to develop an evidence-based rationale that’s required for prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries in an active athletic population. An advanced curriculum, Clinical Rounds, is presented through a series of didactic and laboratory sessions that cover the expanse of knowledge outlined in the Description of Residency Practice (DRP). Other activities include participation in in-services, journal clubs and conferences. Instructors also present didactic lectures to share knowledge and understanding of the basic sciences related to management of athletic injuries and improvement in human performance. Additionally, you may provide in-services for staff at the host institution. The residency program also has clinical affiliations with the University of South Dakota departments of Physical Therapy and Athletics to provide additional clinical experiences. 

Teaching (10-15%)

You’ll function as an academic staff/lab assistant in the musculoskeletal curriculum in the UW-La Crosse Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. You'll attend all class sessions and assist in lab instruction for evaluation procedures to the upper/lower extremities and sports-specific topics. You'll work with the course instructor, Paul Reuteman, DPT, OCS, ATC, to identify and present 2-3 lectures to the students. 

Research (10-15%)

As part of your residency, you’ll design, conduct and complete a clinical research project related to sports physical therapy and present it Gundersen Sports Medicine. This opportunity will allow you to find answers for sports physical therapy clinicians and patients while expanding your skills in medical literature.  

Event and training room coverage (5-10%)

You’ll work with injured athletes on the field covering local athletic events, under the guidance of a certified sports physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. These experiences will help you develop skills to prevent, recognize, evaluate and treat acute sports injuries. 

Observation of physician office hours and surgery (2-3%)

We encourage you to observe physicians during office hours to gain an appreciation for the diagnosis and medical management of common sports-related injuries. You can also observe surgeries to understand current surgical techniques to manage sports-related injuries. 

Ongoing evaluation

To demonstrate your knowledge and skills, you’ll complete a series of written and practical examinations with the residency director and/or residency faculty. Additionally, you’ll complete midterm and final assessments using the Sports Physical Therapy Clinical Resident Tool and Post-Graduate Physical Therapy Professional Behaviors Assessment Tool with the program directors.  

Why Gundersen

Aerial view of la crosse, wisconsin.

Call La Crosse Home

We have it all in La Crosse, Wis. Our vibrant city and region support your dream lifestyle with a welcoming community, culture and outdoor adventure.

Explore La Crosse
Single family home near Gundersen's campus.


Steps from our flagship medical center in La Crosse, our housing options allow you to enjoy the company of your family and the comradery of your colleagues.

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Residents kayaking the Kickapoo river.

Prioritizing Your Wellness

As you learn how to become the clinician you aspire to be, we’ll provide space to prioritize your mind and body wellness, and reach the work-life balance you need.

Wellness opportunities
Contact our team

We are here to answer your questions. 

Email us

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

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