Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement for Return to Sport

Contact Information

Please call (608) 263-4765 and indicate you are interested in an evaluation.


Request a Spectrum Evaluation


Register Online

Register for Spectrum



UW Health Sports Medicine Performance Spectrum UW Health Sports Medicine Spectrum

T-shirt that reads: Work hard. Play hard. Rehab hard. UW Health Sports MedicineThe UW Health Sports Medicine Center offers Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement for Return to Sport, a lower-extremity, group rehabilitation program that integrates philosophies of sports training with philosophies of functional rehabilitation.


About Our Program


The Spectrum program is designed to provide athletes an opportunity to work on functional conditioning and sport-specific drills that prepare them to return to sport activities.


Training focuses on retraining the control of movements required for sport skills and provides the necessary tools to maintain general fitness, strength, flexibility, movement and sports skill.


Two patients working with a trainer on their coordination with therapy balls during a rehabilitation sessionRecent research shows the ability to respond to unanticipated movements is crucial to successful return to sport. This task is very difficult to do with an independent program, since the movements and exercises are planned in advance.


In Spectrum classm athletes respond to other athletes and instructor-led tasks that focus on unanticipated movements. Conditioning and muscular energy systems are also stressed, as research has shown that movement control is effected by fatigue, thus for success rehabilitation we need to train near fatigued states and improve an athlete's conditioning. Athletes in this program participate with others who have experienced similar injuries, and therefore, receive the camaraderie and motivation needed to successfully achieve performance goals.


Who is Spectrum For?


The class is primarily designed for patients who have had ACL reconstruction but is beneficial for all lower-extremity injuries.




Woman working with physical therapist on coordination during a rehabilitation sessionThe Spectrum program includes three progressive phases:

  • Phase I: Return to Basic Fundamental Movement (Basic). The key to bridging the gap between rehabilitation and sports application is to return to basic fundamental movement skills. This begins with postural awareness exercises, balance activities, proprioceptive challenges, coordination activities and basic functional strengthening drills. These activities are used as building blocks for more advanced and complex sports movements. Lack of these skills may result in a deficit in movement pattern and movement response. Athletes in this phase of rehabilitation must have already addressed the physiological responses of pain, swelling, range of motion and basic strength during the early phases of healing.

  • Phase II: Restore Biomotor Patterns (Intermediate). As athletes relearn to control their strength and coordination, they need to apply coordination to simple biomotor tasks such as running, jumping, hopping, skipping, leaping, catching, etc., before advanced athletic movements can be achieved. Activities in Phase II progressively become more complex by adding components of speed, impact, change of center-of-gravity components and by combining more than one movement and more than one direction or plane of movement. They also continue to work to rebuild their strength.

  • Patients working with a trainer during a rehabilitation session with mini-hurdlesPhase III: Retrain and Recondition to Return to Sports (Advanced). In Phase lll, athletes demonstrate that they are efficient with simple biomechanical locomotor and nonlocomotor patterns. The rehabilitation is more specialized to return to individual sport by retraining in agility, plyometrics, speed, strength and power exercises. Phase lll is longer than Phases I or ll to allow for appropriate conditioning, intensity and movement complexity to meet each individual's needs to return to their desired sport(s). After completion of Phase lll, athletes are prepared to resume full sports participation at pre-injury level or beyond.

    Register for Spectrum Phase 3 at The American Center