Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy Program
What is the Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy Program?
Seattle Children’s has the only program in the Seattle area with sports physical therapy for young athletes with mental and physical disabilities. We focus on helping school-age children, teens and young adults with disabilities heal after sports injuries or surgery to repair a sports injury.
We work with young athletes with disabilities at any skill level who want to:
- Return to play.
- Prevent injuries.
- Improve overall performance.
Sports medicine at Seattle Children’s also involves:
How will the Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy Program meet my needs?
- Our main goals are to safely return your child to play and to prevent future injuries.
- We take into account your child’s unique needs, including their strength, range of motion and muscle tone.
- Our physical therapists (PTs) create a custom care plan based on your child’s abilities, age, sport or activity, physical condition, adaptive equipment and performance goals.
- Our PTs focus on how sports can affect the growing muscles, joints and bones of a child with a disability.
- Each PT on the team is trained and experienced in treating bone, joint and muscle conditions along with symptoms related to the nervous system, such as paralysis and spasticity.
- We have the experience to explain exercises and programs in ways each child can understand.
- We partner with you and other members of your child’s medical team.
- If your child has a coach, we can include them in the plan.
- We also work closely with your adaptive equipment vendor to make sure we get the best equipment and fit for each athlete in their sport.
What kind of patients are treated by the Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy Program?
Our licensed PTs work with young athletes who may have:
- Neurologic or developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injuries
- Down syndrome
- Symptoms related to cancer treatment
- Muscular dystrophy (MD)
- Stroke or traumatic brain injury
- Orthopedic disabilities, including dwarfism, skeletal dysplasias, amputations or limb differences
We address a wide range of sports injuries, including:
- Sprains, including ankle sprains (PDF)
- Tendonitis, including Achilles tendonitis (PDF)
- Growth-plate injuries
- Neck and back pain
- Shoulder and arm problems – such as overuse injuries from wheelchair sports or swimming, rotator cuff tendonitis (PDF), Little League shoulder (PDF), shoulder instability, Little League elbow, osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow and ulnar collateral ligament injury (UCL injury)
- Hip pain, including Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (PDF) and hip fractures
- Knee problems – such as Osgood-Schlatter disease (PDF), patellar dislocation, patellar tendonitis (PDF), patellofemoral syndrome (PDF), Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome (PDF), iliotibial band syndrome (ITB syndrome) and osteochondritis dissecans
- Torn knee ligaments (ACL, MCL, LCL and PCL injuries) and meniscal tears
- Shin splints
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Sever’s disease (PDF) (Spanish)
- Overuse injuries
- Fractures, including stress fractures
- Other sports injuries
What services do you offer?
Our comprehensive services include:
Assessments and testing
Before your child starts a sport, we check their bones, muscles and joints. We suggest a plan to help them prepare.
First we look at how your child moves. Then we help your child change their stroke or stride or swing to adjust for the way their body moves. A rehab plan may help your child strengthen some muscles or get better at certain skills.
After watching video of your child in motion, a PT can teach your child changes that may help them heal from or prevent injuries during their sport.
Before your child goes back to sports after an injury, we check their strength, balance and movement and how long they can be active (endurance).
If your child with a disability wants to try sports for the first time, we assess them and develop an exercise program to help prepare them. Then we connect them with community programs. These include Special Olympics, Seattle Adaptive Sports, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and Outdoors for All.
To ease your child’s pain and help them heal, we may use ultrasound, neuromuscular electric stimulation (NMES) or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Tape and braces may support an injured body part or take the pressure off it as it heals. These aids also help athletes be more aware of their posture and movement.
We make sure equipment fits and your child knows how to use it the right way. Examples are braces or adaptive equipment, like a wheelchair for basketball.
Scheduling an Appointment With Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy
- If you would like a referral to Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy, talk to your primary care provider.
- How to schedule an appointment at Seattle Children’s.
- If you already have an appointment, learn more about how to prepare .
- Learn about Sports Physical Therapy resources such as useful links, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center
1500 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Seattle Children's Everett
1815 13th St.
Everett, WA 98201
Seattle Children’s Federal Way
34920 Enchanted Pkwy. S
Federal Way, WA 98003
Telemedicine at Seattle Children’s
You may be offered a telehealth (virtual) appointment. Learn more.
Who’s on the team?
Our Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy Program includes:
- Board-certified orthopedic (bone, joint and muscle) specialists
- Rehabilitation specialists
All of our licensed PTs have advanced training in pediatric rehabilitation. Their specialties include:
- Orthopedic and neurologic deficits
- Injury prevention
- Posture and body mechanics
- Video analysis of running and gait
- Throwing and overhead sports
- Team sports
Mimi Racicot, PT, DPT, SCS
Interim Director, Rehabilitation Services
Steve McKenzie, MSPT
Physical therapists - Seattle Campus
Summer Ice-Tseng, DPT
Physical therapists - Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center
Kaitlin Thompson, DPT
Physical therapists - North Clinic in Everett
Janine Huang, DPT
Steve McKenzie, MSPT
Physical therapists - South Clinic in Federal Way
Cari Anderson, PT, DPT
Natalie Johnson, DPT
Resources for Patients and Families
You and your family may find helpful information on these pages and in these patient handouts.
Adaptive recreation activities
To help promote physical activity and recreation for all members of our community, Seattle Children’s has compiled an Adaptive Sports and Recreation directory (PDF). It is listed with other useful links on our Sports Physical Therapy Resources page.
For more information, contact Adaptive Sports Physical Therapy at 206-987-6400. If you would like an appointment, ask your child’s primary care provider for a referral.
Providers, see how to refer a patient.
Paying for Care
Learn about paying for care at Seattle Children’s, including insurance coverage, billing and financial assistance.
Access Additional Resources
Get resources for patients and families, including information on food, housing, transportation, financial assistance, mental health and more.