The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sports Residency Program provides evidence-based post-professional residency education for physical therapists within our Sports Physical Therapy department, which offers specialized care for youth and teen athletes. Receiving initial accreditation from the American Board of Physical Therapist Residency and Fellowship Education in 2013 and re-accreditation in 2018, the full-time residency program is for physical therapists who are interested in becoming board-certified specialists in the field of sports physical therapy. The program is completed in 12 to 13 months and affords residents an opportunity to work with an orthopedics and sports medicine team that has been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report for patient volumes, outcomes and a variety of patient conditions treated.

The Sports Residency Program has successfully graduated one resident every year since 2013, and our graduates currently have a 100% pass rate on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) examination to become a board-certified sports clinical specialist (SCS). Graduates have also gone on to hold leadership positions in program development, become mentors to colleagues and residents, teach at local universities and participate in clinical research.

We are exclusively dedicated to kids and teen athletes.

The Sports Medicine Program at Children’s is one of the only programs in the country dedicated exclusively to caring for growing athletes. Our team is specially trained to care for teen athletes with sports-related injuries and illnesses.

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Mission, goals and objectives

The mission of the Children’s Sports Residency Program is to enhance the lives of patients through excellence in patient care by providing expertise in sports physical therapy and to demonstrate a commitment to the professional development of physical therapists by providing an advanced cirriculum in sports physical therapy that is evidence-based with a focus on continual learning and program improvement. This mission is achieved by accomplishing the following goals:

  • Meet the needs of the community by developing advanced practitioners of sports physical therapy.
  • Provide a comprehensive sports physical therapy residency program that will prepare a resident for successful completion of the sports physical therapy specialty certification examination.
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge in sports physical therapy by participating in clinical research and outcomes.
  • Develop competent mentors, instructors and leaders in the field of sports physical therapy.


The Children’s Sports Residency Program is a clinically focused program consisting of clinical rotations with faculty mentors in our sports physical therapy department, sideline and sports venue coverage, and adjunct didactic educational experiences within the department, as well as other departments throughout the System. Our curriculum is built around the Description of Residency Practice for Sports Physical Therapy by the ABPTS.

Didactic learning is embedded throughout the program. The didactic experiences, which include formal leadership training, participation in research and outcomes studies, classroom instruction, literature review, case studies, observation experiences and directed study, are designed to directly relate to the clinical rotation the resident is completing. This congruency between didactic and clinical experiences provides a resident the opportunity to put learned knowledge into immediate clinical practice.

A typical week in our sports residency program includes:

  • 30 hours of direct patient care
  • Four hours of one-on-one clinical mentoring
  • Three to five hours of supervised on-field sideline coverage
  • Two hours of didactic discussion in theory, technique and literature review

Requirements for successful program completion include:

  • Passing oral, practical and written exams
  • Participating in a research or outcomes project suitable for publication
  • Completing supervised sideline coverage in various athletic settings

Sports residents are hired as full-time Level 1 physical therapists and receive the appropriate pay, privileges and benefits. Continuing education opportunities are available throughout the duration of the Sports Residency Program. Upon completing the program, residents may qualify for job placement at Children’s.

To be considered for the Children’s Sports Residency Program, applicants must hold or be eligible for Georgia physical therapist licensure (if eligible, you must obtain licensure before beginning the program). You must possess evidence of current knowledge in acute management of injury and illness certification through one of the following:

  • Completion of an acute management of injury and illness continuing education course from a continuing education provider (such as the Children’s Emergency Medical Responder Course)
  • Initial certification as an athletic trainer by the NATABOC within the past 5 years
  • Current certification or licensure as an emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • Current certification or licensure as a paramedic

Our Sports Residency Program participates in the standardized Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program Match. Following your application submission, all communication regarding this match process will come through the Match Program, EXXAT, if you receive an interview offer.

Apply for our Sports Residency Program by using the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Centralized Application Service.

For questions or more information about our Sports Residency Program, contact:

Kyle Clark, PT, DPT, SCS
Director, Sports Residency Program
Clinical Manager, Sports Medicine

Allison Smith, PT, DPT, MTC, ATC
Coordinator, Sports Residency Program
Sports Physical Therapist

Our Sports Residency Program has received full accreditation by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education, which was established by the American Physical Therapy Association. Learn more about the program’s financial considerations.