A photo of Mark Paterno.

Mark V. Paterno, PT, PhD, MBA, SCS, ATC

  • Scientific Director, Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
I believe that every patient has a story to tell about their injury, their condition and their goals for healing. Understanding their story is key to applying the right treatment at the right time for each patient.



As a physical therapist, I specialize in caring for athletes with musculoskeletal injuries. My focus is on those who have sustained acute or overuse injuries to their upper and lower extremities, especially ACL injuries.

At a young age I was exposed to the field of physical therapy and athletic training. This experience convinced me to pursue a career in healthcare. I’ve found that working with young patients and helping them regain their function is incredibly rewarding. It’s what motivates me each day as a clinician and as a scientist.

My practice is rooted in evidence-based care, and my philosophy of care is based on listening carefully to my patients. I believe that every patient has a story to tell about their injury, their condition and their goals for healing. Understanding their story is key to applying the right treatment at the right time for each patient.

My research focuses on improving outcomes after ACL injuries in young athletes. We first worked to identify the incidence and mechanism of a second ACL injury after ACL reconstruction. We are now building on our earlier work to create new criteria for releasing an athlete to resume activity after ACL reconstruction. We are also developing new models of care that can help with safe and effective transitions back to playing sports.

I was honored to receive the 2019 Ron Peyton Award and Lectureship from the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy. Our research was recognized with the 2018 STOP Sports Injuries Award from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. And we also received the National Collegiate Athletic Association Research Award in 2010.

When I’m not helping patients or focusing on research, I enjoy spending time with my family.


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Few young athletes meet newly derived age- and activity-relevant functional recovery targets after ACL reconstruction. Ithurburn, MP; Barenius, B; Thomas, S; Paterno, MV; Schmitt, LC. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2021.

The influence of maturation and sex on pelvis and hip kinematics in youth distance runners. Taylor-Haas, JA; Long, JT; Garcia, MC; Rauh, MJ; Paterno, MV; Brindle, RA; Bazett-Jones, DM; Ford, KR. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2021.

Changes in Motivation, Socialization, Wellness and Mental Health in Youth Long-Distance Runners During COVID-19 Social Distancing Restrictions. Bazett-Jones, DM; Garcia, MC; Taylor-Haas, JA; Long, JT; Rauh, MJ; Paterno, MV; Ford, KR. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. 2021; 3.

Does sex affect second ACL injury risk? A systematic review with meta-analysis. Patel, AD; Bullock, GS; Wrigley, J; Paterno, MV; Sell, TC; Losciale, JM. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021; 55:873-882.

Comparison of Y-Balance Test Performance by maturation status in youth distance runners. Rauh, MJ; Garcia, MC; Bazett-Jones, DM; Long, JT; Ford, KR; Paterno, MV; Taylor-Haas, JA. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021; 9.

Comparison of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Rates In High School and Middle School Sports Over a 30-year Period. Rauh, MJ; Schmitt, LC; Paterno, MV. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021; 9.

Treatment after anterior cruciate ligament injury: Panther Symposium ACL Treatment Consensus Group. Diermeier, T; Rothrauff, BB; Engebretsen, L; Lynch, AD; Svantesson, E; Hamrin Senorski, E; Rauer, T; Meredith, SJ; Ayeni, OR; Paterno, MV; et al. Journal of ISAKOS : joint disorders & orthopaedic sports medicine.. 2021; 6:129-137.

Young athletes after ACL reconstruction with asymmetric quadriceps strength at the time of return-to-sport clearance demonstrate drop-landing asymmetries two years later. Ithurburn, MP; Thomas, S; Paterno, MV; Schmitt, LC. Knee. 2021; 29:520-529.

The Dance Functional Outcome Survey (DFOS) is Reliable, Valid, and Responsive in Pediatric Dancers. Smith, T; Filipa, A; Riveron, S; Strzelinski, M; Paterno, M; Bronner, S. Journal of dance medicine & science : official publication of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. 2021; 25:9-17.

Reduced 2-D Frontal Plane Motion During Single-Limb Landing Is Associated With Risk of Future Anterior Cruciate Ligament Graft Rupture After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction and Return to Sport: A Pilot Study. POSTON, GR; SCHMITT, LC; ITHURBURN, MP; HUGENTOBLER, JA; THOMAS, S; PATERNO, MV. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 2021; 51:82-87.