BSc CAT (c)
Stewart graduated from Acadia University in 1995 with his Bachelor of Science. He then went on to Sheridan College to study Athletic Therapy graduating with honors in 1999. In 2001 he opened Ken-Val Rehab and Sports Injury Centre. Along with treating pre and post-surgical orthopedic injuries, he has a special interest in assessing and treating shoulder, knee and chronic low back injuries. He is the Head Athletic Therapist at Rothesay Netherwood School, a private school in Rothesay NB where, in conjunction with the school nurses and doctors, he helps to manage the treatment and care of all musculoskeletal injuries that happen at the school. In 2005, he joined the Saint John SeaDogs of the QMJHL as the teams Rehab Consultant where he works closely with the teams Head Athletic Therapist and Team Physicians
1.How did you first get involved with Athletic Therapy?
I injured my neck when in university while lifting weights. I ended up getting some therapy at the clinic for my neck, and was intrigued by the approach they used to help me get better. After graduating from university I came home and volunteered at a sports medicine clinic in my home town. The owner of the clinic introduced me to the therapist that was working with the Saint John Flames of the AHL. I ended up volunteering at the rink with the team and soon learned that Athletic Therapy was the career path for me.
2. What do you love most about your job?
I love working with injured people. Its not fun being hurt and when simple day to day functions have been taken away from you because of the injury, life can get frustrating. I love the complete process, from the initial assessment when the injured individual comes into the clinic, to educating them on their injury, developing a treatment plan, and than carrying out that treatment plan and seeing the person get better. There is no better feeling then having someone who has struggled with an injury for many months and gone to numerous health care providers seeking solutions, to finally see improvement in their flexibility, strength and overall function after working with you.
3. What are the most common injuries you see?
My caseload consists primarily of low back, shoulder and knee injuries. These range from the acute sprain and strains, to the chronic overuse injuries and post surgical repairs and joint replacements.
4. What are the most common misconceptions about Athletic Therapy?
I believe the most common misconception about AT is that we only treat athletes. A muscle is a muscle, a tendon is a tendon, and a bone is a bone. We all have different jobs. Some of us are professional athletes, some of us are blue collar workers and some of us are white collar workers. Fundamentally we are the same. The treatment strategies that we use will vary depending on the age group and type of work that the person is going back to. The education that we, as athletic therapists, are given in school makes us the ideal profession to see for any musculoskeletal injury or post orthopaedic surgery whether you are a young athlete, professional athlete, injured at work or play, a grandparent, etc.
5. What is your advice for future Athletic Therapists?
I have been working in the clinic for the past 17 years. There has not been a day in these 17 years that I have wanted to call in sick and not go into the clinic. The clinic is my playground. There is all kinds of work out there in our field. There is also a lot of competition with other paramedicals. In order to separate yourself from them and have people seek your services, you need to be willing to be flexible with your work hours to fit your clients schedule. This means working longer days / evenings and making yourself available for after hours or weekend treatment sessions or consults. Getting out and networking with local high schools and sporting clubs is essential to help develop your name as the person to go to when they get hurt. It never hurts to volunteer your time with various clubs and teams to help showcase your talents and skills.