In this episode, President of IFSPT, Luciana de Michelis Mendonça, talks about her research and the upcoming World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy.

Today, Luciana talks about the importance of the WCSPT and the results from her research. Why are organisations like IFSPT important?

Hear about why sports PTs are important in injury prevention and reduction programs, pre-season assessments, implementing prevention programs, and get Luciana’s advice to her younger self, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.


Key Takeaways

  • “We should assess our athletes to make the most amazing tailored prevention program.”
  • “Injuries happen, but if you can decrease the time that the athlete is spent outside the game, then that is a win for the team.”
  • “Warm-up sessions with the physical therapist were the methods used to prevent injuries.”
  • “Be lighter, less stress, [put] less pressure on yourself.”
  • “I am where I am because I’m good at what I do.”


More about Luciana de Michelis Mendonça

Headshot of Luciana De Michelis Mendonça, PT, PhDLuciana is a professor in a federal university in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and develops research in the field of sports physical therapy.

She has participated in the last four IOC world conferences on injury and illness in sport with poster and workshop presentations. She was involved in organisation of physical therapy services for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

She was the first female president of the Brazilian Society of Sports Physical Therapy (SONAFE), in a country with many restrictions to women’s participation in sport and politics. Since 2017, she has been an executive director of the World Physiotherapy subgroup International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy (IFSPT) and is now IFSPT’s president.

She is committed to enhancing the dissemination of sports physiotherapy good practice and knowledge globally and to increase equity in sports physiotherapy.


Suggested Keywords

Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Healthcare, Physiotherapy, Sports, Research, Injury Prevention, Prevention Programs, Exercise,


Recommended Reading

  1. How injury registration and preseason assessment are being delivered: An international survey of sports physical therapists
  2. How injury prevention programs are being structured and implemented worldwide: An international survey of sports physical therapists

Sign up for the Fourth World Congress of Sports Physical Therapy


To learn more, follow Luciana at:


Twitter:            @luludemichelis

Instagram:       @lucianademichelis


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Read the Full Transcript Here:


Welcome to the healthy, wealthy and smart podcast. Each week we interview the best and brightest in physical therapy, wellness and entrepreneurship. We give you cutting edge information you need to live your best life healthy, wealthy and smart. The information in this podcast is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as personalized medical advice. And now, here’s your host, Dr. Karen Litzy.



Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. I am your host Karen Litzy. And today I’m very honored and excited to have on the program Dr. Luciana de mckaela Mendoza. She is a professor in a Federal University in Belo Horizonte in Brazil and develops research in the field of sports physical therapy. She has participated in the last four IOC world conferences on injury and illness in sport with poster and workshop presentations. She was involved in organization of physical therapy services for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games. She was the first female president of the Brazilian society of Sports Physical Therapy in a country with many restrictions to women’s participation in sports and politics. Since 2017, she has been the executive director of the world physiotherapy subgroup, International Federation of sports, physical therapy or ifs PT, and is now IFSP T’s president. She is committed to enhancing the dissemination of sports physiotherapy, good practice and knowledge globally, and to increase equity in sports physiotherapy. And in today’s podcast, we will talk about some of her research into injury prevention and the role of sports physiotherapist in those programs. And of course, we will also talk a lot more about the fourth World Congress is Sports Physical Therapy, which is happening in Denmark this August 26, and 27th. That’s 2022. So if you want to find more information about that, you can click on the link at podcast at healthy, wealthy To find out more about the fourth World Congress is sports physiotherapy, again, taking place in Denmark. So we will talk a lot about that. And we will also get a sneak peek of some of Luciana has talks there. She’s speaking and she is moderating. So she’s got her hands full for sure. So I want to thank her for coming on the podcast and everyone enjoyed today’s episode. Hi, Luciana. Welcome to the podcast. I’m excited to have a conversation with you today. Hi, Carrie. Thank you very much for having me. Yeah, it is my pleasure. And now before we get into the meat of our interview, can you tell the listeners a little bit more about you about your history in sports, physical therapy. And as I mentioned, you are the current president of ifs pts. You can talk a little bit about that as well. So I will hand the mic over to you.



Okay, Karen, so I’m from Brazil. I’m a sports physiotherapist and I graduated in 2003. So I’m 20 years as a physiotherapist. And I’m also a professor in diversity here in Brazil. I’m based in Belo Horizonte. And



I started to work. Since the as a students and sports team, I wanted to do physical therapy because of sports. I am passionate about it. And I, I started in this political scenario in the Brazilian society of sports, physical therapy. And I started it was in 2016, it was the year of real to tastic significant part Paralympic Games. So it was a really big challenge. I also work in the physical therapy services during the Olympics and Paralympic game here. And I started being part of the Executive Board of the IFSP CI in 2017. So I learned a lot during the presidency of Anthony Schneider’s in Christian torborg. And now I have this big challenge to be IFSEC. President so I’m balancing this actions related to if activity and also with teaching and also research about sports, physical therapy. And my research is mainly directed to injury prevention, and also injury risk profile. So I think that’s perfect. And can you talk a little bit more about IFSP T and kind of the importance of having these organizations and what they what they do, what are they there for



Yes, so the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy is a subgroup of the word physiotherapy. That’s our main our mother organization. So as a subgroup, we have to engage countries all around the world that have specific group related to sports, physical therapy to join the IFSP team. So nowadays, we have 34 member organizations in the SSP T. And our main mission is related to disseminate good practices, support research on sports, physical therapy, of course, and also promote actions to support our members, the whole community. So improve the practices around the world. And also it’s a good it’s an important way to connect with people. So I think the most amazing gifts that I had, being in IFSP T board is to network with people around the world. So it’s a really



important way to have our professional, our profession, organize it. And so I probably will be in the presidency for the next four years. That’s the plan. Yeah, that’s, that’s amazing. And one of the things that, like you said, as part of the organization is networking, and we’ll say this will probably repeat this a couple of times, but the Fourth World Congress is sports, physical therapy is coming up August 26 27th, of 2022 in Denmark, and obviously, you will be there and you are a part of several presentations.



But like you said, your research is around injury prevention and assessment in sports, in sports. So can you talk about why the sports physical therapist is an important component of these injury prevention programs or injury reduction programs?



Yes, I just want to stress that, yes, the Congress of sports, physical therapy, it’s important action that IFSP t also have, we are one of the main organizations, the main sub groups of world physiotherapy that deliver International Congress. So we have the first one in Bern, the second one Belfast, the third in Vancouver, and now illegal in Denmark. So I, I went to Belfast to Vancouver, and now I will be enabled for sure. So



I’m sorry, Carrie, I forgot your question. Oh, yeah. No, so my, my question, like I said, you’re doing you’re doing a ton. You’ll be doing a ton in Nyberg. But one of the things that I know you are talking about is about your research that centers around injury prevention, and something that you’re passionate about as if the sports physical therapist should really be involved. So why is that?



Yes. So I always thought that the main action as a sports physical therapy in a sports team, of course, I should be aware that, for me, I need support all athletes available to the coach to the head coach to train. So for me, it’s, it was always a good time to have like the physical therapy department, empty without athletes there, because all athletes should be on the fields playing and training.



So for me, prevention was always important action that we as therapists should be aware of. So I, when I finished my PhD and start to be a teacher in university in Brazil, I started to wander, especially after I started to work in the IFSP. Board, I started to wonder if the prevention, the role that the Sports Physical Therapy had in prevention, and I know that how this works in Brazil because I was sports physical therapist and the volleyball team and soccer team. I was wondering if it was like the same, or I was wondering if it should be the same. Or if we are here in Brazil, we’re doing like similar things that other professionals data around the world. So I have a sabbatical year in 2020 and I went to Belgium to work with Eric FitPro.



I was there in Uganda, the University of Ghana, as a visiting professor. And we started to develop a surveying to understand what role the sports physical therapists had in injury prevention. So I will talk about some of our results, we have two papers about this survey that were that are published in physical therapy in sports. And this helped me to have



sort of idea about the role. And we have really interesting information about this, that, of course, I will share here in this podcast, and also in the World Congress of sports, physical therapy. And also we develop a Delphi design to establish a consensus on sports injury prevention programs. So this is also an interesting



study that we could deliver an IFSP participated to, with this Delphi study linking



people from different countries. So I’m really excited to talk to you about this caring and say something that should make people a little bit curious and participate in the Congress. In Denmark. Yes. So when can can you give us a little bit of info, you don’t have to give it all away? Of course, people can go and read the the



published papers, but in this



in this study, you had, how many people? What did you find? How did you do it?



So yes, for sure, I can share some of the data that we had the papers are published. And also you can indicate for your audience, I can send you the links. It’s important, I totally understand caring that sports injury prevention area, we need to move forward related to research, we need to understand a lot of things. But I think it’s interesting to understand what the professionals what the sports physical therapists are doing, because this can bring up some questions for future research. So



on the survey, we



we had 414, sports, physical therapists participating around the world. So I think we had like, people from 32 countries. So I know that the amount is not so high, we could have more people participating, but it was delivered in 2020, during the pandemic. So this is one thing that I should stress because, yes, we had 32 countries participating, but I, for sure, I expected to have more people there. But we had questions in this online survey that was related, link it to the synchronous sequence of prevention that were Matalan delivered, and maybe it’s the the most use it, model or to make decisions about prevention. So we ask it if this sports physical therapists participated on injury prevention, sorry, injury registration. It’s common here, Brazil, but I didn’t know if my colleagues in other countries participating in the injury registration. We also asked if they assess it, the athletes to build the prevention program. So if they did, for example, preseason assessment, that’s the more common way at least in Brazil. So I was curious about that. And also, I we asked about their prevention program. So if the pieces participated in this action or not. So about equal registration, the first thing this I think this is an amazing result, because we had more than then 80% of the sports physical therapists that participate in this study, were responsible for me to reverse the situation. So we can now say that maybe the sports physio are the are the person like more important more responsible to properly register injury in their sports team? So this brings brings up a lot of other questions. So for example, maybe we should IFSP T should deliver some actions to maybe



increase the knowledge and maybe the competence on this matter on our community. Because of course, if we are responsible for this, we want to do an amazing job. So it’s, it’s interesting. And it’s good also to exchange some experience and learn from good examples. So this is really good. And we also ask about the main barriers.



So for sure now register the injuries. So more than a half of this physios said that lack of time in their routine was the main factor to not properly register injuries. So maybe we need to discuss also about the sports physio routine, inside the sports team. I think we talk we should talk more about this, especially in conferences that we can get together a lot of professionals from different countries, and we can learn from their experience.



So can I move forward? You have a comment about registration? Nope, I think I think that’s good. And I do like that. You said, Hey, maybe this is a chance for us to get together learn from each other. Because perhaps there are ways to streamline this that people just haven’t thought of that other people are doing. So you’re right. It’s a great opportunity for sports organizations, like if SPT to bring sports physical therapist together and say, Well, wait a second, some of you are doing this with some of you aren’t. And if it’s a lack of time, what can we do to give you a structure that can streamline your process? Yes, exactly. And it’s one thing that here needs to be done. We just We can’t like, Okay, I’m not going to register injuries, because how can I be sure if I’m going to prevent the injuries if I’m not registering? So if you’re not registering, is it like they didn’t happen?



Yes. And another another thing that is really interesting, what is the injury definition? That is sports, physical therapists are using my understanding, we can select different definitions, because this maybe rely on the sports modality.



But we need to talk more about this, I think we should



exchange and learned and maybe from this, maybe if aspartate can deliver some guidelines, I don’t know, because it’s one of our missions. Also to make the FSB T is the main resource for the Sports Physical Therapy community. So I think we will maybe in the future, we are going to have more actions based on the findings of so I’m really excited about this. Okay, so let’s move on to preseason assessment. So how many are performing? And what are the barriers? I know that this is this, topics of little bit controversial, I know that we have a group that thinks that we should assess, and another group of sports physio, or research thinks that we, we don’t need to. But our survey shows that 77% of the participants perform preseason assessments in their athletes.



So 222 sports fields, said that they do. This is amazing information. And I didn’t expect for this high percentage.



And I was happy because I believe that we should assess our athletes to make the most tailored, most amazing tailored prevention program for our athletes. I know that this is a challenge. I totally understand this. But if I think about myself as a sports, physical therapy, if I’m working in a sports team, I will like I will do my best to assess the athletes and try to deliver



into an individualized prevention programs. So but we have like, opposite side here because only 30% of these sports physical therapists that do preseason assessment, customize the provincial program bases in the results of the assessment.



So this is a point that we need to understand better. We need to understand what is happening. Why



They sports fees you give energy to assess the athletes, but they don’t apply the results to build the prevention program.



So we didn’t



ask it like specific questions about this. To understand this, we only asked about the barrier. So the main barrier



that was indicated to not before assessment, it was lack of structure and organization of the sports team.



So about half of the participants indicated this barrier.



I understand makes sense, but I’m not sure if this barrier explain 100% of the reasons to not perform the precision assessment. And I think maybe this is also relied on the evidence that we have related to these. We have big discussions about injury prediction probability. So maybe we need to make some advance in research about this topic. And maybe we need to talk more about this to make more like have this issue more clear to everyone, specially the clinician.



Because I think so now, it’s my opinion. Okay. I think we need to assess our athletes, and maybe maybe even the process of assessment should be discussed. Because if we, if we are here in a roundtable with sports, physical therapists, and we ask how you assess your athletes, which tests do you select, probably carrying, we are going to have different answers. So I don’t I’m not sure what this means. It means that we don’t have standards. We don’t have like a protocol. Should we have a protocol? I don’t know. But what I know is that we need to talk more about this. Yeah, I mean, oh, go ahead. Sorry. No, no, I just like, I just want to say that I was really happy with the the results that sports fields with a majority is performing a preseason assessment. But on contrary, I was I get a little sad to see that not like 1/3 of them are really applying the Results to Build provincial programs. And yeah, and so I brings up a couple of questions for me, and that is, have you seen preseason assessments? Decrease injury, are they and again, this goes on? I think what you just said that sort of prediction and probability. So if you do a preseason assessment, does that predict less injuries? I don’t know. Have you seen? What are your thoughts on that?



Thank you for asking this caring, I think



preseason assessment. The main propose is not to predict injury, they may propose is to identify those athletes with more susceptibility or probability to get the injury and then we can act before this happened. I’m not saying that if we perform a preseason assessment and beta prevention program on the results, our athletes not going to get into I’m not saying that injury, always going to happen sports, but we can, for example, decrease the severity.



So if I have one athlete that I can, for example, I apply the stars question balance test, and I see that this athlete have a really low stability, functional stability in the lower league. So I can include in their provincial program, exercise to improve the stability, and maybe he will, he will, like have the ankle sprain, but I can decrease the severity.



So I will decrease the time loss. I will make this athlete more available to the head coach at the end. That’s my reasoning on preseason assessment. And I think there is a misconception about this issue also. Right? Because I think, you know, if we’re playing devil’s advocate, some people may say, well, the preseason assessment isn’t going to eliminate injuries. Why am I why am I doing it? Right? But like you said, injuries happen. But if you can decrease the severity if you can decrease the time that the athlete is spent out of the game



Yeah, then that’s a win for the team. And it’s a win for the coach in the organization. But if only 30% If if you have all of these sport physiotherapist doing a preseason assessment, then only 30% customize the program. Now we have to come up with some incentives for that physiotherapist to customize



the program for the athlete. And again, that may be like you said resources available to them, if it’s one person and 50 players,



that it’s difficult, you know that that’s that that’s quite difficult. But



I can understand how this can be a very frustrating part of research, because there’s a lot of moving parts. And it’s not just the sport physiotherapist, who has all best intentions and at at the heart of, of of their work. But there’s a lot of external factors that need to come into play. But



I do I also like your that idea of being on a round table with sport physiotherapist and saying, Well, what do you do? What do you do? And maybe like you said, I don’t know if a protocol is right, but maybe some sort of a roadmap where you have some basic assessments, and then you have the freedom and the ability to get creative, but to have certain certain things in there that makes sense for that sport?



Yes, I totally agree with you. Here in Brazil, I have a lot of colleagues and friends that came from the Brazilian society of sports, physical therapy. So we talked a lot in exchange a lot. So I, I myself, I have my challenges related to really delivering the prevention program that I i understand that would be like the best thing to do. But of course, this also relies on the relationship with the head coach, district parenting coach. So it’s a lot of factors variables that we need to understand. And that’s, that’s really individual. It depends on the context of each sports team. So that’s what I when I say that maybe we don’t, we will not have like a protocol, because it depends on the sports team reality. But I agree with you that we can give maybe some roadmap to help everyone to organize better, considering the context, right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Oh, that’s yeah, that’s that really opens up a can of worms for people. That being said, let’s move on to prevention programs. So what did you find with that?



Yes, so about the prevention program, we see that warm up.



sessions with the physical therapists were the methods more use it to prevent injury. And I think about warm up this was already expected because it was one roadmap that FIFA 11 Plus gave to everyone, not only for soccer, we have evidence on basketball, handball players. So FIFA 11 Plus really helped in this maybe this



basic organization, and how to deliver some preventive action in a more easy and accessible way. So I think it’s really interesting that this survey, like confirm that one map, it’s a really good strategy to include the provincial probe on athletes routine, because the athlete will need to warm up. So we have this moment, and why not. So instead of make the athlete do like,



whatever exercise or just running on the field, why not to be more specific and includes exercise that the athletes really need to do based on the sport modality.



Epidemiology. So for example, we know that in soccer, we have a lot of famous hamstring strain, we have a lot of ankle sprain, knee sprain. So why not to include some melodic at the size it some balance exercise? I think this is a really



important action that every old sports physical therapist needs, so be engaged and participate and about the individual sessions with the sports physical therapists. It’s important to us and then I really expected some information around this



because we know that we have some time zone athletes that need a specific exercise that needs to be delivered by the physical therapist. So I was happy to say this because this was the methods more use it more indicated by our participants. And above the barrier, we saw that lack of time in athletes routine was the main barrier to perform the provision. This was indicated by 66% of the participants.



Of course, I expected results. And that’s why warm up, it’s important action because this is already in adults routine, we don’t need to change the routine to include one more time and period to do



the exercise related related to prevention. So again, carry I don’t know if this only this area only about athletes routine, we can understand why we can’t perform major prevention. And as I said, Before, I understand the challenges. I think it’s not easy. But I think it’s a wonderful, it’s a wonderful action that sports physical therapists participate. And it’s really, of course, important for our athletes health, not only performance, because we have evidence that provincial programs also increased performance. But also I’m concerned about athlete’s health, we need to, of course, help the athlete because no one wants to get into it. So this is really, it was really important.



For information that is the also indicated and these information helped us. So sort of build the questions related to the consensus, that was our second step during my experience in Ghent University with Eric.



Right. And so at W CSPG. You’re going to show some data about the Delphi consensus, so you don’t have to give all that away, people can go to the conference to hear more about that. But if you want to give a little preview, now’s your time. So you what are the main topics investigated?



So about our Delphi, we organized the consensus in three parts. So the first part was related to how the thesis should plan the provincial programs. So this planning was about the information or the reasoning to develop the injury prevention program. So this is interesting, because we have information that, for example, sports, physio, use the reasoning related to biomechanics, or the base decision only on evidence and injury, Epidemiology, or athletes, injury history. So we have this kind of information and result and this is really brings up some discussions. So I hope that on the conference, I can, we can have this moment to discuss about our information, our data. The second part was about the organization. So how work environments before the implementation, how this affects the delivering the injury prevention programs. And the third one is about the implementation phase that I know that there is a lot of discussion and research, we have a specific we have specific groups of research that really go deep in this matter of implementation. So in this third phase, we identify barriers and facilitators to implement the injury prevention programs, and also related to compliance, if visibility. So this is how we organize the Delphi. It was a huge amount of work from all the core authors that participated in this study, and really happy that we can now say that this is accepted in physical therapy in sports generally, we can now really disseminate



this information, and I’m really happy to be part of this. Yeah, well, congratulations because that is a ton of work. And again, if people want to learn more about this, then you can come to Nyberg August 26 27th The Fourth World Congress is Sports Physical Therapy in Denmark.



And I mean, who doesn’t want to be in Denmark in the summer? Right? I mean, amazing. Yeah, this will be my first time in Denmark. So my I am excited. So of course, no Denmark, but also to meet my friends from Sports Physical Therapy community, specifically before this, sorry, after this pandemic. Yeah. So I really miss my friends. And I really excited to talk more about injury prevention. And so our consensus results, and exchange and networking with everyone there. Yeah. And where can people find you? If they have questions? If they you know, we’ll have the links to the studies that you mentioned in the show notes. So if people read that, and they have questions, where can they find you?



Yes, Carrie, so I am on social media. So I have my Facebook profile, Instagram, it’s with my name, no change at all. And also in Twitter, is Lulu the chalice so you can find me there. And we can keep talking about information. IFSEC. I invite everyone for be like in the World Congress of sports, physical therapy, it’s in August. So I’m really excited to be there. And I hope to see you there all for caring. Yeah, I will be there. I’m looking forward to it. And now final question that I asked everyone knowing where you are now in your life and in your career, what advice would you give to your younger self? Good question. Okay. So maybe, first, I would say to my own self, congratulations, you are an amazing woman in you accomplished a lot.



For sure, I never thought that I would be where I am now. As IFSP President working in federal, probably the most important federal university here in Brazil. So I’m really happy. If I could give her some advice should be be more lighter, less stress, less pressure on yourself, Luciana.



But at the end, we don’t don’t care if this increased pressure or stress, help in a way.



me to be here where I am. Or if I could go through this path. Be more.



I don’t know light. I think the word is like, Yeah, I think so. And, and I love the fact that you said you know, you would congratulate yourself. And I think celebrating wins and celebrating what we do are things that women don’t often do. Right? We’re always sort of congratulating others and putting others up, but we never sort of congratulate ourselves and celebrate our wins. And, and I think if I were to go back and tell my younger self, something that would be it, like stop making yourself smaller so that other people can be bigger. It’s a constant exercise. I didn’t accomplished my winnings, my victories so often, but now I can see clearly that I am where I am, because I’m good in what I do. So perfect. What a way to end the podcast. I think that’s great. So again, people can see you live in Nyberg, August 26 and 27th. At the fourth world, Congress is sports, physical therapy, you again will have the link on the conference and how to sign up. And we certainly encourage everyone to do that. Like you said, What a great way to meet up with colleagues to get some really great information and be in a beautiful place while you do it. Yeah, exactly. And on August 25, five, we are going to have a network session delivered by FFTT. So we are going to have also this moment to get together and exchange. Perfect. Is there anything else? You know, you’re the president? So is there anything else that we missed? Talking about the conference that you want to let people know is is also happening? We are going to have an interesting conference because it’s going to be I think the first World Congress of sports, physical therapy that we’re going to have specific moments to do sports in the program. So we are going to have this more serious moments to talk more about our practices and research but also light moments to practice sports and be more friendly there. Yeah, so basically bring your workout clothes is what you’re saying. Yeah,



Oh, yeah, that’s exactly perfect. Perfect. And I don’t think I mentioned that when I spoke to Katie so I’ll be mentioning that moving forward that bring your sneakers bring your workout clothes, that traditional



well here in the US for whatever reason, people like always wear suits to these things.



So don’t don’t worry about the suits, but definitely bring your workout gear. Yes. Perfect. Perfect. Well, Luciana, thank you so much for taking the time out today and coming on to the podcast to talk about all the great stuff you’re doing. Thank you so much. My pleasure, Kara. Thank you so much, and everyone thanks so much for tuning in. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.



Thank you for listening and please subscribe to the podcast at podcast dot healthy, wealthy And don’t forget to follow us on social media.

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.