17 Sports Physical Therapist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a sports physical therapist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Sports physical therapists work with athletes to prevent, diagnose, and treat sports-related injuries. They develop individualized treatment plans and rehabilitation programs to help athletes recover from injuries and return to their sport.

Sports physical therapists must have a thorough understanding of the human body, as well as the mechanics of various sports. They must be able to identify and treat a wide range of injuries, and they must have the skills to develop individualized treatment plans.

If you’re interested in becoming a sports physical therapist, you will need to go through an interview process. During the interview, you will be asked a variety of questions about your experience, your skills, and your knowledge of the human body and sports.

Are you certified as a sports physical therapist?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have the necessary certification for the job. If you are not certified, they might want to know what steps you plan on taking to get your certification. You can answer honestly about your current certification status and explain how you plan to become a sports physical therapist in the future.

Example: “I am not currently certified as a sports physical therapist. I do plan on getting my certification within the next year, however. I will be studying for the exam while working toward my master’s degree in physical therapy. I feel that having both certifications would help me excel in this role.”

What are some of the most common injuries you treat as a sports physical therapist?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience and knowledge of the field. They may also use this information to decide whether you’re a good fit for their team or organization. When answering, try to focus on injuries that are common in your area. You can also include any personal experiences with these types of injuries if they relate to the job.

Example: “In my experience as a sports physical therapist, I’ve seen many different kinds of injuries. Some of the most common ones I treat are sprained ankles, knee injuries and pulled muscles. In my previous position, I also saw some athletes who had suffered concussions during games. These were always scary situations because we needed to make sure the athlete was safe before returning to play.”

How would you treat an athlete who has a knee injury?

This question can help interviewers understand your treatment methods and how you apply them to different athletes. You can answer this question by describing a specific case study of treating an athlete with a knee injury, or you can describe the steps you would take in general when treating any type of injury.

Example: “When treating an athlete who has a knee injury, I first assess their pain level and mobility. If they are experiencing severe pain, I will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs to reduce swelling and inflammation. Then, I will perform range of motion exercises to increase flexibility and strength in the injured area. Finally, I will teach my patient proper stretching techniques to prevent future injuries.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a sports physical therapist?

This question can help interviewers learn more about your passion for the field. They may want to know what you enjoy most about working with athletes and how it helps them succeed in their careers. You can answer this question by describing a specific experience that made you feel proud of your work as a physical therapist.

Example: “The most rewarding part of my job is when I see an athlete who was injured return to the field or court. It’s so exciting to watch someone overcome an injury and get back to doing what they love. In my last role, I worked with a basketball player who had torn his ACL. He was determined to get back on the court before the end of the season, and he did. Seeing him play again after such a long recovery was really special.”

Provide an example of how you use your knowledge of biomechanics to help an athlete.

Sports physical therapists need to have a strong understanding of biomechanics, which is the study of human movement. This question allows you to show the interviewer how your knowledge of this subject can help athletes recover from injuries and return to their sport.

Example: “Biomechanics is an important part of my job because it helps me understand why an athlete has pain or discomfort in certain areas of their body. For example, I once worked with a basketball player who was experiencing knee pain during games. After performing some tests on his knees, I determined that he had weak glute muscles, which were causing him to overcompensate for them when jumping. By strengthening his glutes, he was able to reduce his knee pain and improve his performance.”

If an athlete has a recurring injury, how would you approach the situation?

This question can help interviewers understand your approach to treating athletes with recurring injuries. In your answer, you can describe how you would assess the athlete’s injury and develop a plan for treatment. You can also explain how you would communicate with coaches and other medical professionals about the best way to treat the injury.

Example: “If an athlete has a recurring injury, I would first assess why they are experiencing the same pain over and over again. Sometimes, it is because of poor rehabilitation or improper training techniques. Other times, it could be due to a more serious issue like muscle imbalance or nerve damage. Regardless of the reason, I would work closely with the coach and other medical professionals to create a plan that helps the athlete recover from their injury.”

What would you do if you noticed an athlete was performing an exercise incorrectly?

This question can help interviewers understand how you might handle a situation that could be dangerous for an athlete. In your answer, try to show the interviewer that you would use your communication skills and problem-solving abilities to ensure athletes are performing exercises safely and effectively.

Example: “If I noticed an athlete was performing an exercise incorrectly, I would first ask them if they were experiencing any pain or discomfort during the exercise. If they said no, I would explain the proper way to perform the exercise so they understood what they should expect when doing it. If they still seemed confused, I would offer to demonstrate the exercise myself so they could see how it’s done properly.”

How well do you know the rules of the various sports you treat?

Sports physical therapists need to know the rules of the sports they treat. This question helps employers determine if you have a basic understanding of the rules and regulations of the sport you’re treating. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention which rules you are familiar with and why you find them important.

Example: “I am very familiar with the rules of basketball because I played in high school. In fact, I was on my school’s team for four years. I understand that knowing the rules is an important part of being a good player. It also helps me as a therapist when I’m working with patients who play basketball. For example, I know how to help someone learn how to dribble or make a layup.”

Do you think it’s important for a sports physical therapist to be active themselves?

This question can help interviewers understand your commitment to the role. They may also want to know if you have any experience with sports and how that might benefit your work as a physical therapist.

Example: “I think it’s important for anyone in this profession to be active themselves, because they will better understand their patients’ experiences. I am an avid runner myself, so I understand what it feels like to push through pain and fatigue. This has helped me empathize with my patients and develop treatment plans that are more effective.”

When working with a team, how do you ensure that everyone on the roster is following their treatment plan?

This question can help interviewers understand how you work with a team and ensure that everyone is following the treatment plan. You can answer this question by explaining your methods for ensuring teammates are adhering to their physical therapy schedules.

Example: “I have found that one of the best ways to make sure my patients adhere to their treatment plans is through communication. I always try to meet with each patient before they leave the facility to go over any questions or concerns they may have about their treatment plan. I also send out weekly emails to all of my patients, outlining what exercises they should be doing at home and when they should do them. This helps me keep track of who is performing their exercises correctly.”

We want to improve our recovery rates. Describe a strategy you would use to improve our performance in this area.

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the physical therapy process and how you can apply it to improve a team’s performance. You can use examples from previous experience or explain what you would do if you were in this situation.

Example: “I would first assess the current recovery methods, including any equipment they’re using and their training schedules. Then I would create a plan that includes new exercises, stretches and other techniques for improving their overall health and fitness. This will help them recover faster so they can get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Describe your process for evaluating a new patient.

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your diagnostic skills and how you approach a new patient. When answering, it can be helpful to describe the steps you take when evaluating a new patient and what factors you consider most important in determining their treatment plan.

Example: “When I meet with a new patient for the first time, I always start by asking them questions about their injury or ailment. I want to know as much information as possible so that I can understand the extent of their injury and determine whether they have any other health conditions that might impact their recovery. From there, I perform an initial physical assessment to get a better idea of where they’re experiencing pain and discomfort. After that, I usually recommend some exercises or stretches to help ease their symptoms.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have extensive knowledge of sports injuries and rehabilitation techniques. I’ve worked with many different athletes who have had various types of injuries, so I know what works best for each situation. In my previous role, I was responsible for creating treatment plans for all of our patients. This helped me develop my skills as a physical therapist and understand what is most effective when working with teams.”

Which sports have you never treated and would like to learn more about?

This question can give the interviewer insight into your passion for sports and physical therapy. It also helps them understand what areas you’re most interested in developing as a professional. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a sport that’s not common or one that you have little experience with but would like to learn more about.

Example: “I’ve never treated an athlete who has suffered from a knee injury. I find this interesting because I think it could help me develop my skills as a physical therapist. I’m eager to learn how to treat athletes with these injuries.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of communication with patients?

This question can help interviewers understand how you communicate with patients and what your priorities are. When answering, it can be helpful to focus on the importance of communication in a patient’s overall health and well-being.

Example: “I think that communication is one of the most important aspects of working as a physical therapist. It allows me to learn more about my patients’ needs and concerns so I can provide them with the best care possible. In my previous role, I always made sure to ask questions to better understand my patients’ goals and preferences. This helped me create personalized treatment plans for each individual.”

How often do you update your CPR certification?

CPR certification is a requirement for physical therapists. Employers ask this question to make sure you stay up-to-date on your CPR certification and other requirements. In your answer, explain that you have kept your CPR certification current since you received it. If you are close to the expiration date, let the interviewer know that you plan to renew it before it expires.

Example: “I am currently certified in CPR. I renewed my certification last year when it was due. I also keep all of my certifications updated as they expire. For example, I just recently renewed my ACL certification.”

There is a game tomorrow, but you’re not sure if an athlete can safely participate. What would you do?

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to make quick decisions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to give an example of how you would handle the situation in real life.

Example: “If I was unsure if an athlete could safely participate in a game tomorrow, I would first ask them about their injury and what they’re experiencing. Then, I would speak with the athletic trainer or doctor who has been treating them to get more information on the injury. After that, I would perform my own assessment to see if there are any red flags that might prevent them from playing. If everything looks good, then I would let them know that they should be able to play tomorrow. However, if I notice anything that makes me concerned for their safety, I would recommend that they sit out the game.”


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