What is an Athletic Therapist, and Why Do You Need to See One?
Written by: Kristy Blair BSc, CAT (C) @theendurancechiro
As an Athletic Therapist who has worked with multiple professional sports teams and furthered my education towards becoming a Chiropractor, I always get asked what an Athletic Therapist is?
An Athletic Therapist is a sports medicine professional specializing in the prevention, immediate care, and on-going rehabilitation of sports or physical activity-related muscle, bone, or joint injuries. Athletic Therapists treat professional athletes to weekend warriors and everything in between. If you suffer from any sport or physical activity-related injuries, you need to see an Athletic Therapist for comprehensive assessment and treatment.
Certified members of the Ontario Athletic Therapist Association (OATA) and Canadian Athletic Therapist Association (CATA), completed a 4-year undergraduate degree, alongside Athletic Therapy specific requirements:
• 1,200 internship hours, that’s 150 workdays!
• Human Anatomy courses specializing in the head, trunk, spine, and extremities
• Athletic injury seminars, focusing on clinical and on-field treatment
• Athletic taping labs
• Modalities training
• First responder certification
The internship is split between clinical and on-field coverage while focusing on clinical assessments, emergency care, rehabilitation program development, and exercise prescription. Upon graduation, athletic therapists have gained experience working with multiple high-performance sports teams in addition to well-recognized clinics.
How will an Athletic Therapist help me?
Athletic Therapists work collaboratively with health-care professionals to facilitate your safe return to sport, work, or school. Athletic Therapists will work with you to develop an individualized, evidence-based rehabilitation program, which can include:
• Orthopedic assessments
• Rehabilitation of physical injuries
• Recovery from surgeries
• Various manual therapies
• Exercise prescriptions
• Assessment of proper lifting techniques
• Supportive taping & brace fitting
• Modality application, as indicated
• Concussion recognition in children and adults
• Return to play and active lifestyle
• On-Field Emergency care
What to expect in your first visit?
On your first visit, you can expect a series of questions about your health, lifestyle, exercise habits, area of injury/concern, previous injuries, and health concerns. An Athletic Therapist will perform a thorough physical assessment of your area of concern as well as surrounding areas.
Together, you will develop a plan of management, which will help you achieve your treatment goals. These include:
• Development of warm-up, conditioning programs
• Exercise prescriptions
• Application of appropriate prophylactic or supportive taping
• Appropriate therapeutic modality usage, when indicated
• Advice on equipment selection, fitting, and repair
Kristy Blair is an Athletic Therapist with Integra Health Centre. She would be thrilled to work with you to reach your athletic and lifestyle goals.