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HL50144: Evidence-based clinical sports physiotherapy

[Page last updated: 14 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department for Health
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Academic Year
Modular (no specific semester)
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Case Study (CW 100%)
  • Clinical Attachment (CW 0%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: After completing this Unit students should be able to:
1. Critically evaluate a range of evidence sources appropriate to sports physiotherapy practice.
2. Design and deliver sports physiotherapy interventions for challenging and complex clients, based on sound scientific rationales and clinical reasoning.
3. Critically appraise and adapt clinical practice, based on 360 degree feedback (self, peer, client).
4. Critically evaluate the use of evidence and reflective practice as agents of change to extend the boundaries of clinical practice.

Aims: This Unit links evidence based practice, sports physiotherapy clinical practice and reflective practice. The three key aims are:
* To explore research surrounding sports physiotherapy practice.
* To understand and apply evidence based practice and clinical reasoning to innovative practice in the management of complex clinical scenarios.
* To develop reflective sports physiotherapists with the capacity to adapt clinical practice to achieve desired outcomes, in response to clinical circumstances and an evolving evidence base.

Skills: Knowledge and understanding (Taught, facilitated and assessed)
Engage with requirements of safe, multidisciplinary Sports Physiotherapy practice; critically analyse athlete biomechanics and movement; injury diagnosis and management; engage with relevant research; initiate change in sports physiotherapy practice.
Intellectual skills (Taught, facilitated and assessed)
Information synthesis; self direction and originality in problem solving; integration of clinical and non-clinical components in physiotherapy practice; reflection on learning and practice
Professional practical skills (Facilitated)
Safe, ethical and legal sports physiotherapy practice to athletes in different sporting contexts in the sports environment; apply knowledge and understanding from different sources and relevant theory to athlete management; support multi-disciplinary colleagues; provide expert advise and guidance.
Key skills
Problem solving (Taught, facilitated and assessed)
Communication (Taught, facilitated and assessed)
Critically reflect on and develop practice (Taught, facilitated and assessed)
Advise and influence practice, strategy and policy (Taught and facilitated)
IT skills (Taught, facilitated and assessed).

Content: 1. Exploring the evidence base
The identification and critical appraisal of literature surrounding sports physiotherapy practice. This includes the identification of strengths and weaknesses in available evidence, and identification of areas for which there is a lack of evidence to support current practice approaches or interventions.
2. Clinical Experience
The accrual of approximately 40 hours of experience in a sports physiotherapy clinical environment. There is a focus on exploring and applying evidence based practice and clinical reasoning in the management of complex clinical scenarios. It involves the application of appropriate evidence into clinical practice, including the design, communication and delivery of innovative practice interventions, based on scientific rationales and clinical reasoning. The clinical experience may also provide an environment to support the conduct, development and dissemination of the research project.
3. 360 degrees of reflection
Reflecting on and grounding clinical practice in the literature. The collection and evaluation of feedback on practice from a variety of sources such as peers, colleagues and clients. The process of integrating the evidence and reflective components to modify and extend sports physiotherapy practice completes the 360 degree cycle of evidence base - clinical practice - reflective practice.
4. Extending the forefront of practice
Avenues for extending the forefront of clinical practice, including problem solving and clinical reasoning (grounded in the literature), and change management.
Note: To evidence learning in the sports clinical environment, students will be provided with specific practice reflection and evaluation frameworks, proformas for reflection on significant incidents and peer review audit tools. A specific Experiential Verification Certificate (EVC) will be required from each practice or sporting environment in which learning is evidenced. It is envisaged that submission of an EVC will be required for 1-2 practice bases which underpin experiential learning in this Unit.

Programme availability:

HL50144 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department for Health


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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