Interested in our DPT Program?

Browse our Continuing Education courses



This 12-month physical therapy fellowship program is a collaboration with MLB’s San Diego Padres designed to equip physical therapists with the skills, experience and knowledge to effectively and competitively manage clinical care of athletes in upper extremity sports, specifically amateur and professional baseball. Fellows will train in Southern California with expert clinician mentors from USC specializing in upper extremity for the first six months, then transition to Arizona to train with clinician mentors from the Padres and work with professional baseball players at the Minor League Complex for the last six months.


This fellowship combines self-study with formal and informal educational, clinical and academic activities. It includes mentored direct care of patients, with an emphasis on upper extremity disorders in the clinic. The fellow will manage injuries and performance training for upper extremity athletes, specifically for community youth and high school athletes, collegiate baseball athletes, professional volleyball and baseball athletes, including unique experiences with rock climbers and swimmers. The fellow will participate in a robust professional didactic curriculum and will present upper extremity related didactic content during courses. The fellow will also be active in clinical research and complete research requirements.

An Upper Extremity Athlete Fellow’s typical week at USC includes:

  • 36 hours of direct patient care management in a USC outpatient physical therapy clinic
  • 2-4 hours of mentored clinical practice in a USC outpatient physical therapy clinic
  • 12-14 hours of on-field, on-court, on-deck, on-site management of upper extremity athletes, which can include weekend coverage
  • 2-4 hours of didactic coursework and/or research activity

A typical week with the San Diego Padres is variable.

Additional weekend courses through the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Continuing Education Department may be required.

This fellowship begins in August and concludes the following July. The fellow will be paid (with benefits) for hours of clinical work only, from August through January with USC, and from February through July with the San Diego Padres.

Requirements for successful completion include passing exams (oral/written/live patient), satisfactory completion of didactic coursework and completion of approved research requirement.



Prospective Fellows must submit the following:

  • Application to the Fellowship
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Career statement
  • Valid California PT license AND Arizona PT License
  • Proof of ABPTS specialist certification or completion of an ABPTRFE-accredited residency in Orthopedics or Sports

You must also have one of the following designations for emergency response prior to beginning the fellowship:

  • Certified Athletic Trainer
  • Certified Emergency Responder for Athletes (through the APTA American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy)
  • Licensed Emergency Medical Technician

Qualified applicants will be selected for formal interview. Non-U.S. citizens will require the appropriate visa and evidence of English language proficiency in addition to the licensure requirements.

Desirable qualities in an applicant include strong desire to advance clinical knowledge, skills, abilities; demonstrate clinical aptitude and/or potential interest in teaching, clinical research and/or mentoring; strong written and verbal communication skills; and evidence of initiative and self-responsibility.



One-year tuition is $3,000, payable at the beginning of the program.

You will be responsible for your living expenses and transportation to facilities and locations, both in California and Arizona.

Because of limited public transportation in Los Angeles, a car may be necessary.

Upon request, we can provide suggestions for where and how to find housing.

You will also be responsible for purchasing textbooks, scrubs and incidental supplies; we will provide detailed Information at orientation.

While a fellow, you may be able to defer any student loans; check with your individual lender(s) on their requirements.

ABPTRFE Financial Fact Sheet

Note: On the ABPTRFE Financial Fact Sheet, the salary range is reflective of variances between employment in California and Arizona.


To apply for the USC Upper Extremity Athlete Fellowship, visit the Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS), create a login and indicate that you are applying for the USC Upper Extremity Athlete Physical Therapy Fellowship.

Applications are due on March 1.



All application materials and further inquiries or requests for additional information should be directed to Program Director Dr. Jonathan Sum.


A summary of the USC Physical Therapy Upper Extremity Athlete Fellowship outcomes is available here.

ABPTRFE accreidation logo