Meet the Expert
Thomas L. Sevier, MD, FACSM
Medical Director, Performance Dynamics®, Inc. Medical Consultant, Outpatient Rehabilitation, Mid
Dr. Sevier is committed to the field of rehabilitation and musculoskeletal medicine. For almost 15 years, he has been board-certified in internal medicine with a sub-specialty certification in Sports Medicine. In 1995, he became the youngest physician ever to become a fellow in the American College of Physicians. That same year he also became the youngest physician to be granted fellowship status in the American College of Sports Medicine. As a team physician for several colleges, he provided medical coverage for many high-profile sporting events. Dr. Sevier established the first ACGME accredited Sports Medicine Fellowship in the United States, and served as a faculty member at two universities. He pioneered important advances in rehab and sports medicine, and has received recognitions, awards and appointments. He writes extensively for peer-reviewed journals, scientific publications and books, speaks, and has appeared on television regarding health and physical rehabilitation.
How long have you been working in the profession?
I have practiced medicine for almost 15 years, but my interest and study in rehabilitation started early in my medical training, prior to my practice of medicine. As an “ex-jock,” I experienced several nagging injuries that would not improve with the standard medical/therapy treatments. I was fortunate to work with a gifted therapist, who educated me about physical therapy. Driven by a strong need to improve my knees and elbow, I studied all the materials available on a variety of therapy approaches, and then began my own research. Research is no easy undertaking. Dead-ends and surprises are not uncommon, but the successes make the long, difficult research process worthwhile. I am a stickler for details. It is important to me to make sure my results are true and accurate. Both my patients and I have benefited from this commitment to research, and our health and lives are better for it.
Why did you join the Physical Therapy field?
I developed close relationships with physical therapists during my research (much of what I was investigating focused on therapy/rehab approaches), and also while practicing medicine. I believe physical therapy is of vital importance in the treatment of many conditions. While teaching physicians to become specialists in Sports Medicine, I invited physical therapists in to teach about the processes and benefits of physical therapy, so that the physicians could better understand the capabilities of therapists, and when they should refer patients to PT. I have always valued PTs as experts in musculoskeletal care and realize how essential PTs are in the proper care of these disorders.
What is your proudest PT accomplishment?
I am most pleased about the research and development of ASTYM® treatment, a safe and consistently effective process that resolves degenerative tendinopathies and problems resulting from scar tissue. ASTYM treatment is provided by physical therapists and resolves many common conditions, even those previously thought to be permanent. It is fulfilling to receive letters from grateful patients, therapists and physicians, whose personal and professional lives have been impacted in such positive ways…to know that we’re making a difference.
What industry trend do you see growing?
There is a lot of talk about evidence-based practice, and many therapists are successfully incorporating these practices into treatment of their patients. Employers and payors are turning their attention to evidence-based practice, and it is important for physical therapists to keep this in mind to secure their position. Direct access for PT’s is becoming a reality. As a result, it is critical that therapists more effectively educate the public on the benefits of physical therapy so that they choose to see a PT first for appropriate problems. I also believe it is important for physical therapists to broaden sources of revenue beyond third party payor income, such as cash-based business and niche markets.
Any advice for colleagues just starting out?
Get your message out. Your education has trained you to be a competent therapist, but if patients, physicians, and payors are unaware of what you can do for them, the number of patients you serve will be limited. Let them know what you can do to help them...what problems you can solve.
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