Sports Physical Therapy Residency granted 10-year reaccreditation

Associate professor of physical therapy Dr. Gary Schindler (right) explains the finer points of foot mechanics at the UND Biped Lab in 2019 as Department of Physical Therapy Chair Dave Relling (left) looks on.

The coordinators of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) Sports Physical Therapy Residency learned this week that the residency has been reaccredited for a full 10-year accreditation period. The accreditation was granted by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education and will remain active through Jan. 31, 2031.

“Our residency program director, Dr. Gary Schindler, provided exceptional leadership for the program,” said Department of Physical Therapy Chair Dave Relling. “Notably, the virtual onsite visitors this summer were impressed by the quality and number of various sports professionals that Dr. Schindler has amassed as faculty for the program.”

The Sports PT Residency, the only such residency in North Dakota and one of only two PT residencies in the state, is a unique collaboration between the SMHS Departments of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine and Altru Health System. The sports PT resident obtains most of her or his sport-specific practice hours at the UND Center for Sports Medicine while Altru Health System provides clinical training hours to address the rehabilitation of recreational athletes and general orthopedic injuries.

The program has graduated five residents to date with a sixth currently working through the residency.

“The Departments of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine have been so supportive [of the residency],” added Schindler, an associate professor in the PT department who holds doctoral degrees in both physical therapy and education. “That support, along with our great mentors and faculty, are what make this residency a success.”

In addition to bringing physical therapists, athletic trainers and physicians into the residency, Schindler actively recruited specialists in strength and conditioning, sports psychology and sports nutrition. The sports PT faculty include experts from UND, the SMHS, Altru Health System, and Sanford Health.

“When Gary first came to me to pitch the idea of the residency, I thought it had the potential to be a good program,” said Steve Westereng, chair of the Department of Sports Medicine. “A large amount of work was completed, from many people involved in the program, to get the residency started and through the accreditation process. It is exciting to see how far it has developed from its inception as well as where program is headed into the future.”