The greatest games in the world are upon us, and as we all tune in and cheer on the nation, we can’t help but marvel at these world-class athletes. To have made it to the grandest arena in sports means they’re truly a cut above the rest—and cut from a different cloth. Their qualities are not unique, though; in fact, we think rehab therapists (PTs, OTs, and SLPs) have a lot in common with the elite athletes currently competing in Rio. Here are four of those shared characteristics:

9 Most Common Medicare Misconceptions for PTs, OTs, and SLPs - Regular Banner9 Most Common Medicare Misconceptions for PTs, OTs, and SLPs - Small Banner

1. Rehab therapists and world-class athletes both perform at the top of their game.

For a world-class athlete, there’s no greater stage than the one currently occupying Rio, and to make it there, you have to be the best in your field. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with performing at the highest level, and rehab therapists feel that pressure—those high stakes and that distinct honor—every day, because that’s how much their patients mean to them.

Of course, PTs, OTs, and SLPs know they have to be the best—but it’s not only for their patients; it’s for their profession, too. Like a swimmer demonstrating the prestige of that particular sport, rehab therapists perform at the top of their game because they’re demonstrating to everyone—their peers, patients, and fellow healthcare providers—their prestige as valuable members of the healthcare community.     

2. They both put in a lot of time, energy, and work when no one is looking.

“When I was an athlete, I knew that if I woke up two hours before training, ate one more egg at breakfast, or finished one last back squat at training, it would make me better and I would accomplish my goal,” Steve Mesler—bobsled champion and entrepreneur—explains in this article. “Sometimes that goal was three and a half years away. That’s a long time to think that an extra egg will have anything to do with the final outcome.”

For the most part, we don’t think about what world-class athletes are up to every day—except when we tune in to watch them compete in the grandest of all competitions every four years. And yet, those athletes are working tirelessly almost every second of every day: training, preparing, and fighting to make it to that competition. There’s no sportscaster play-by-play for all of that effort; it isn’t coating the mainstream news or sports sites. Most of these athletes aren’t even blips on our radars until we tune into the ceremonies.

The same could be said for rehab therapists. They work tirelessly in school, in clinicals, in continuing education, and in practice. But, patients don’t know—and appreciate—that until injury strikes. And when those patients receive treatment, they marvel at the care their therapists deliver—just as we all marvel at those athletes’ performances. And both are the product of countless hours of round-the-clock, behind-the-scenes work.

3. They’re good sports.

Too often in major league sports, we see ugliness—friendly, professional competition turned malicious. The desire to win at all costs trumps the love of the game. Rarely do we see that on the world’s biggest stage. It’s an honor and privilege to compete; those athletes dedicate their careers to earning a chance to represent their countries. Rarely do they disgrace themselves or their countries with poor sportsmanship and mean-spirited behavior.

In a recent WebPT blog post, author Erica McDermott makes the case for cooperation, rather than competition, in rehab therapy. Her main point is that friendly competition—the kind that drives providers to innovate their models, better their care, and help more people—benefits the profession as a whole. That’s what happens when you play for the love of the game, not the desire to win at all costs. And that’s what rehab therapists—and world-class athletes—do: rather than aspiring to being better than each other, they aspire to being better, together.   

4. They care about the details.

“At one point or another during my career, I competed in every seat in the sled, including spending time on the world cup tour as a driver,” Mesler continues in his article. “That was a rarity for a push athlete. But it made me versatile and it kept me curious about every aspect of my sport—from push technique to aerodynamics to the composition of the steel in our runners (the blades on the bottom of the sled).” As a bobsledder, he knew details were everything. After all, catastrophe can happen quickly when you’re “going down hills at over 85 mph in what amounts to a fiberglass garbage can with skates.” Now, as a business owner, Mesler knows the details are still as important as ever: “you are responsible for knowing how the entire ecosystem, inside and outside, of your company works.”

This mindset holds true for rehab therapists, too. In practice, the details matter, because they can make all the difference in helping their patients get better, faster. Furthermore, when you’re dealing with musculoskeletal injuries, sloppy treatment and technique can exacerbate injuries, delay healing, and intensify pain. When a patient’s health hangs in the balance, there’s no choice but to obsess over the details.


World-class athletes wait four years to get to the greatest stage of their career. They have the full support of the nation behind them, and they know an honor and privilege that few will ever experience. Fortunately, if you’re a rehab therapist, every day is an opportunity to enter the greatest stage of your career. Every day is a chance to gain the respect and admiration of your patients. Every day, you know the honor and privilege that comes with healing people. And while rehab therapists may not earn medals or grace any podiums, they impact lives in ways world-class athletes could only dream of. Because ultimately, it’s thanks to their rehab therapists that many of these athletes are even able to compete.

  • The True Cost of a Bad Hire in Your PT, OT, or SLP Clinic Image

    articleJun 19, 2017 | 5 min. read

    The True Cost of a Bad Hire in Your PT, OT, or SLP Clinic

    If you’ve ever made a bad hire, you know what a harrowing experience it can be. Not only do you need to have at least one difficult conversation with that employee—or many, if you’re adhering to a documented coaching plan —but you also may have to repeat all the hiring and training steps you already completed to replace that bad hire with a good one. That’s expensive from both a resource and time perspective. But how much …

  • Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue Image

    webinarFeb 12, 2018

    Knock Out Patient Dropout: 8 Ways to Increase Retention and Revenue

    In one corner, we have a highly skilled rehab therapy provider known for delivering amazing clinical outcomes through noninvasive, movement-based treatment. And in the other corner, we have a discouraged, disengaged patient whose quality of life has taken a major hit due to musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. If you’re a rehab therapy provider, you’ve probably seen this battle play out more times than you can count—and we’re betting that more often than not, your therapy care right …

  • Down with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid Image

    webinarApr 19, 2017

    Down with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid

    One denied claim might not sound off your billing alarm bells—but in reality, it should. That’s because—as with faulty plumbing—one leak often indicates a much larger issue. And all too often, rehab therapy practices fail to act quickly enough—and soon find themselves wading in a flood of lost revenue. But there are simple, proven, and affordable ways to not only plug your billing holes, but also reinforce your whole system so you’re less likely to bust a …

  • Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar Image

    articleOct 18, 2017 | 21 min. read

    Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar

    On October 17, 2017, WebPT’s own Charlotte Bohnett and Shawn McKee hosted a webinar detailing how rehab therapy practices can make themselves findable—and, more importantly, discoverable—online. During the presentation, they covered everything from blogging and soliciting reviews to keywording and optimizing online profiles. It was a lot of juicy information—and we received a lot of juicy questions from our audience. We’ve compiled the most common ones—and their answers—in the FAQ below. Reviews Can I send patients a …

  • The PT Patient's Guide to Understanding Insurance Image

    downloadApr 3, 2017

    The PT Patient's Guide to Understanding Insurance

    Patients are shouldering a greater portion of their healthcare costs than ever before. But when they don’t know the specifics of their coverage, they can end up with much bigger bills than they bargained for—and that often leads to unpaid balances and unfinished treatment plans. Bring them up to speed—and improve your practice’s collections and patient retention—with this guide. Patients will learn: What it means for a service to be “covered.” How to define common insurance terms. …

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017 Image

    webinarJan 5, 2017

    Cloudy with a Chance of Reform: 5 Key Healthcare Forecasts for 2017

    Predicting the weather is tough—just ask any meteorologist who has called for sun on the day of a major downpour. Well, predicting the fate of the US healthcare system isn’t much easier—there’s a lot up in the air, after all. But, even without a healthcare equivalent of Doppler Radar, there are a few key trends that are sure to have a major impact on PTs, OTs, and SLPs in 2017 and beyond. And to keep your practice …

  • Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them) Image

    webinarDec 22, 2017

    Stalled Out: 5 Reasons Your Patients Aren't Progressing (and What to Do About Them)

    If life is a highway, then it’s a wild, bumpy one. And while our patients want to ride it (all night long), with all those twists, turns, and potholes, they’re bound to get banged up. Fortunately, you’re here to help get them back in top form. But, helping patients achieve their goals is hard work—for you and for them—and while everyone strives to be a Ferrari, it’s common to plateau at Pinto. And that’s when the risk …

  • Election Day Rules for Employees Image

    articleNov 2, 2016 | 3 min. read

    Election Day Rules for Employees

    Whether you’re #withher, #withhim, or #withsomeoneelse, Election Day generates a lot of questions—many of which have nothing to do with political leaning. If you’re running a practice, then those questions may include how to handle Election Day rules for your employees. Here’s what you need to know about November 8, 2016—as well as the days leading up to it— according to Ali Edwards, senior counsel and co-owner at CEDR HR Solutions : (One quick thing before we …

  • Death to Denials: 4 Strategies for First-Pass Claim Payment Image

    articleMay 1, 2017 | 4 min. read

    Death to Denials: 4 Strategies for First-Pass Claim Payment

    Claim denials are the worst. You provide your patients with exceptional therapeutic intervention—and bill their insurance companies to recoup payment for those services—only to find out that the payer has no intention of actually doing any paying. Womp, womp. While you could—and should—implement a process to correct and rebill denied claims, wouldn’t it be even better to stop them from happening in the first place? After all, it costs providers an average of $25 to rework a …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.