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Here is what one athletic trainer experienced while rehabilitating an athlete's injury:

As an athletic training student, I had the privilege of fulfilling my senior rehabilitation requirement by caring for a football receiver. He sustained a tibia-fibular fracture that resulted in further complications including compartment syndrome in the lateral chamber of his lower leg. Because this was my first experience with a rehabilitation program from start to finish, I learned a lot about the psychological aspect of rehabilitation. I realized that a rehabilitation program can be complicated. The goal is to push the athlete in his or her program, yet you cannot push him or her any faster than the body and postoperative protocol can handle. I also realized that it is important to try to expect the unexpected. I found that we cannot always control what our athletes do outside of the rehab and school setting. The athlete in my care almost jeopardized his recovery progress because of his extracurricular activities. He worked through his rehabilitation and is now able to function in sports, but he decided not to play anymore because of his injury. We always have to remember that serious injuries can affect athletes in many ways, and we have to keep that in focus when rehabilitating an athlete.

Darren Howard, AT, ATC

Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer

Miami University

Oxford, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Describe seven different goals of rehabilitation and the importance of each in the overall rehabilitation protocol.

  2. Verbalize indications for performing hip, thigh, and lower-leg rehabilitative techniques.

  3. Discuss modifications and progressions that are used during a rehabilitation program for the hip, thigh, and lower leg.

  4. Discuss the outcome measures used to identify activity levels and return-to-play guidelines for hip, thigh, and lower-leg injuries.

  5. Explain what modality choice is proper for rehabilitation by using indications, contraindications, and the principles and theory related to the physiological response of the intervention.


Darryll Huber is an offensive lineman on his college football team who plays left tackle. During a home game, the football is hiked and Mr. Huber blocks his opponent. Unfortunately, his fellow teammate is pushed from the line of scrimmage, falls into Mr. Huber, and lands on Mr. Huber's left lower leg. Mr. Huber feels a cracking sensation and then falls to the ground. He notices an obvious deformity at the midshaft of his left lower leg. As Mr. Huber's left leg is vacuum splinted for transport, it is determined that he has a tibia-fibular fracture (Fig. 13-1). Mr. Huber is transported to the hospital for radiographs and the necessary course of action.

Figure 13-1:

Darryll Huber's tibia-fibular fracture. (From Starkey, C., Brown, ...

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