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APTA Combined Sections Meeting is in its last week of live content, but that doesn't mean you've lost the opportunity to watch hundreds of presentations, poster sessions, and more.

There's still time to register and view the remaining live events — and participate in live Q&A sessions with presenters — through Feb. 28. Recorded content will be available through the end of March.

But register soon, because there's still lots being offered every day.

As we did earlier this month, here's another taste of what's been presented so far. (Look for more complete coverage of the conference in the May issue of APTA Magazine.)

Blood Flow Restriction's Growing Use
Exercise training with blood flow restriction is becoming increasingly popular in rehabilitation. This session, presented by Johnny Gray Owens, PT, MPT; and Bradly Lambert, PhD, on behalf of the Federal Physical Therapy Section, explores the science supporting the growth of its use in different patient populations. The training technique, which allows patients to lift a lighter weight while still increasing muscle strength, is effective not only for athletes who have experienced injury, they say, but may be  able to reduce pain and contribute to vascular health. And BFR shows promise for older adults — in fact, Owens said, "We think the group that's going to have the biggest bang for their buck is the elderly." 

Who You Calling "Elderly"?
In this session sponsored by APTA Geriatrics, presenters Becca Jordre, PT, DPT; Kim Nowakowski, PT, DPT, MS; and Mike Studer, PT, MHS, FAPTA, offer tips on how develop a physical therapy engagement strategy for aging adults who are competitive athletes. One of the first lessons? Don't call them "elderly." However, that doesn't mean they lack health risks, Jodre said —nearly 30% report experiencing an injury in the past year that interfered with their ability to compete. Other topics in the presentation include a discussion of the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam from Nowakowski and some mythbusting from Studer, who debunked false statements around participation, training, fall risk, and strength gains.

Opening the "Black Box" of Rehab Interventions
Clinical trials are critical to building the evidence base and improving patient care. But the complexity of rehabilitation interventions and the way results are described can threaten the usefulness of findings. This APTA Academy of Physical Therapy Research-sponsored session features research experts Alan Jette, PT, PhD; Kristin Campbell, PT, PhD; and Leo Costa, PT, PhD. Jette is editor in chief of PTJ; Campbell and Costa are on the journal's editorial board. Presenters discuss the factors that make it hard to determine whether a particular intervention studied in a clinical trial actually works as described in the research paper. Among the complicating factors: poor definitions of elements of the interventions (mix, dose, schedule, etc.), inattention to carrying out the treatment as defined, and "spin" — the tendency to overemphasize the benefits of the intervention or to place too much importance on secondary outcomes.

The Good and Bad of "Athletic Identity" in Female Athletes
Female athletes can reap mental health benefits when their sense of self is deeply rooted in their sport, but what happens when an injury causes the bottom to drop out? And what can PTs do to help? That's what Garrett Bullock, PT, DPT; Hannah Buckingham, PT, DPT; Barbara Hoogenboom, PT, PhD; and Stephanie Filbay, B. Phty, PhD, explore in "Mind Games: Implications of Athletic Identity and Mental Health in Female Athletes Across the Lifespan," presented by the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy. The session addresses not only the challenges female athletes face when their sense of self is shaken but also the particular dynamics of athletic identity in women, as opposed to athletes in general. The session frames athletic identity as a two-sided concept: While a strong sense of athletic identity can improve self-confidence and self-discipline, injuries that threaten the athlete's ability to return to her sport can challenge that identity and contribute to depression.


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