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USD Physical Therapy Faculty Attain Rare Certifications

VERMILLION, S.D. – Brandon Ness, D.P.T. and Hanz Tao, D.P.T., both of the University of South Dakota Department of Physical Therapy, have been certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as sports clinical specialists.

Ness and Tao are now members of an elite group. Only one percent of the nation’s physical therapists possess a sports certification.

According to Lana Svien, Ph.D., chair of USD’s Department of Physical Therapy, “It is even rarer that a sports clinical specialist has completed a highly selective year-long residency in sports physical therapy, as did both Ness and Tao.”

Ness is an assistant professor of physical therapy and has been at USD since 2015. Tao is also an assistant professor, starting at USD in 2016.

Both Ness and Tao teach and prepare students in USD's physical therapy program. They also perform physical therapy evaluations, helping athletic trainers guide treatment of USD’s Division I student-athletes.

Download a photo of Brandon Ness. Download a photo of Hanz Tao.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News