Sports Fellowship in Division I Athletics

NCAA Division I sports attract the finest young athletes — at USC and numerous universities across the nation. Our sports fellowship trains advanced practitioners of sports physical therapy in the skills needed to care for these athletes — in the clinic, in training rooms and on the field.

Guided by knowledgeable mentors, our sports fellows learn superior skills in assessing, evaluating and treating athletic injuries; expand the body of knowledge in sports medicine by conducting and publishing clinical research; and make lasting contributions to their communities.

Curriculum and Training

Our rigorous sports fellowship uses a combination of self-study, and formal and informal educational, clinical and academic activities. It also includes mentored direct care of athletes on the field, in a Division I athletic training room and at affiliated specialty clinics, including the USC Orthopaedic Surgery clinic. Supervised clinical mentorship by USC orthopedic physical therapy and sports medicine physicians is a key component of the sports fellowship.

Components of the curriculum include NCAA compliance, risk management in a Division I setting, and strength and conditioning for Division I athletes.

A sports fellow’s typical week includes:

  • 20 hours of direct patient care in a Division I athletic training facility
  • 4 hours of mentored clinical practice in physical therapy for Division I athletes
  • 3–6 hours of on-field experience in Division I athletic settings
  • 3 hours of mentoring in physician practices
  • 4 hours of self-study of theory, technique and literature reviews

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

The sports fellowship begins in early September and lasts for 12 months. Requirements for successful completion include passing oral exams/presentations, examinations with live patients and completion of a project submitted for presentation or publication.

Admissions Requirements

To qualify for the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy’s sports fellowship, you must be a graduate of an APTA-accredited program in physical therapy and have a valid license to practice physical therapy in California. You must also have one of the following designations for emergency response prior to beginning the fellowship:

  • certified athletic trainer
  • certified emergency responder (through the APTA sports section)
  • licensed emergency medical technician

Non-U.S. citizens must have an appropriate visa and provide TOEFL scores.

In fellowship candidates, we are looking for a strong desire to advance clinical knowledge, skills and abilities; demonstrated clinical aptitude and/or potential; strong communication skills; and evidence of initiative and self-responsibility.

Costs

One-year tuition is $1,000, which can be paid in one or two installments, due by October.

You will be responsible for your living expenses and transportation to clinical facilities. 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.

Apply

To apply for the sports 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 sports physical therapy fellowship.

Applications are due on April 1.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Aimee Diaz, DPT, SCS, ATC, director of the sports physical therapy residency, at aimeedia@pt.usc.edu