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‘Involved in every step’: how working practices shape the influence of physiotherapists in elite sport

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2015 by Andrea Scott, Dominic Malcolm
This paper examines how the medical and non-medical skills of physiotherapists enable members of the profession to become central agents in the multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) which dominate sports health care. Drawing on empirical data derived from interviews with sports physiotherapists and doctors working in UK Olympic sport MDTs, this article argues that the role and influence of physiotherapy in elite sports health care can be explained in relation to physiotherapy’s working practice traditions and the degree to which these traditions correspond to their specific patients’ demands. Drawing on concepts such as medical dominance and relative practice autonomy drawn from the sociology of medicine, the paper argues that extended time, close physical contact and opportunities for experiential learning foster physiotherapist–patient mutuality, locate the physiotherapist as an inherent part of the recovery process and lead to trusting and collaborative health care relations. The practice traditions of physiotherapy enable these practitioners to respond flexibly to the particular demands of elite sports clients, intertwining athletes’ performance orientation with physiotherapists’ treatment through blurring the boundary between health care and sports training. Physiotherapists thus become seen as ‘useful’ in the eyes of the clients who shape the demand for health care delivery in elite sport.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health

Volume

7

Issue

4

Pages

539 - 556

Citation

SCOTT, A. and MALCOLM, D., 2015. ‘Involved in every step’: how working practices shape the influence of physiotherapists in elite sport. Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7 (4), pp. 539 - 556.

Publisher

© Taylor & Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health on 27 Oct 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/2159676X.2014.968605

ISSN

2159-676X

eISSN

1939-845X

Language

en

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