Date of Award

Spring 2017


Capstone - Open Access


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Ellen McWhorter

Second Advisor

Brigid Hopkins


In the medical field, physical therapists or physiotherapists as many countries outside the United States refer to the profession as, are “highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility...” Physical therapists/physiotherapists are responsible for teaching patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. Physical therapists/physiotherapists do this by examining each individual and developing a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles (APTA). According to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, their definition of a physiotherapist is the same as the United States’ definition for a physical therapist, however, the profession has very different educational standards in the respective countries. One might be tempted to think that this would be obvious due to South Africa’s third world status but when it comes to the medical field, South African medicine is ranked highly in the global standards, in the top 200 according to the World Health Organization.