December 15, 2021

As we enter December and reflect on 2021, it is clear that once again we are closing off a year full of change. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought continued challenges while we worked to keep each other safe and adapt to the ‘next normal.’

Here at the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA), we have used this time of change as an opportunity to embrace growth and development.

Association Activity

As an organization, CATA advanced in many ways this past year. From announcing our partnership with Dr. Geoff Dover PhD, CAT(C) of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec in a pain medication research project, to our new merchandise release and newsletter launch in July, we continued to promote athletic therapy across the country.

In August, we also announced a New International Arrangement, allowing CATA members to pursue international opportunities and International Arrangement members to apply for Canadian Athletic Therapy certification. Additionally, we collected insight and feedback from our members in September through the Member Benefit Survey. This information will allow us to continue to serve the athletic therapists of Canada to the best of our ability.

The National Certification Exam (NCE) for Athletic Therapy also moved online in November for the first time, allowing nearly 300 participants to write the exam from locations across Canada.

Finally, the CATA team grew this year, with Jordan joining us in May as Director, Member Engagement and Partnerships, and Peter joining us in December as Director of Operations.

Education and Webinars

Throughout 2021, CATA was pleased to offer a webinar series to provide members the opportunity to connect with the CATA community and learn from leading healthcare professionals in Athletic Therapy. From May to December, we were joined by some incredible speakers who covered a wide variety of subjects.

Topics included Being a Mental Health and Mental Performance Ally in Sport: The role of the Athletic Therapist, Business Skills and Creating the Optimal Coaching Environment: Addressing Athlete Learning Styles, Skill-Acquisition & Transfer. Each webinar offered an opportunity for our members to earn Continued Education Credits to advance their athletic therapy careers.

Amplifying our Digital Community

Social media became an even more important part of any marketing plan as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, proving to be a fantastic tool to reach out to our members and build our community. This past year, we implemented a new marketing plan that featured new campaigns for Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to facilitate this need. We saw great growth across our channels this year with a 41.4% increase in audience and 825.9% increase in engagements! This is a result of re-launching our Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to better engage members!

We also launched a new blog series to educate both our members and the Canadian public, highlighting how athletic therapy fits into different sports, lifestyles and spaces. The inside look into Athletic Therapy provided by our blogs has become a big drawing point for readers and we can’t wait to continue these into the future.

Athletic Therapy in Sports & Events

Of course, we can’t forget about the amazing work of our athletic therapists in the field of professional sports this year. After last year’s uncertainty, forced cancellations and postponements, 2021 brought the reintroduction of many beloved sporting events.

The 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were finally able to take place from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021 and August 24th to September 5th, 2021 respectively. Athletic Therapists play a huge role in the success of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT(C)) Andrea Prieur even shared her perspective about being at the games in our July blog.

Beyond the Summer Games, Athletic Therapists were front and centre in the return to a variety of sports from amateur to professional leagues. We even had CATA certified member Mike Frostad (Frosty) and honorary CATA member, George Poulis, head to the World Series with the Atlanta Braves this year — and the team won after six games!

Athletic Therapy Clinics

Athletic Therapy clinics across the nation also began to reopen in 2021, with many now offering a hybrid system of both in-person and virtual appointments. Athletic Therapists were primed and ready to help as the world became more active again. The pandemic forced us all to stay home more, and activity slowed or stopped for many of us. Although it is tough to gauge whether the number of injuries are rising or we’re simply getting back to where we’re used to, clinics are seeing more patients once again. The need for reconditioning or support is there, and it’s great to see patients turning to local businesses!

Athletic Therapy Institutions

In terms of education, Athletic Therapy students were also transitioning between remote and in-person learning in a year of adjustment. CATA currently grants accreditation to Athletic Therapy programs at Concordia University, Camosun College, Sheridan College, York University, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Mount Royal University and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and we celebrate with students as they continue with their studies!

Athletic therapists are also back in action at institutions, whether teaching or working with sports teams at the college and university level. Being able to engage with students and student athletes in person is a relief after the adjustment of 2020 and 2021, and we’re looking forward to sharing in the successes of the academic year with you all.

Athletic Therapy Logo

We are also incredibly excited to introduce a brand new logo for Athletic Therapy this December! This will be a new way to recognize Athletic Therapists and Athletic Therapy in action across the country. When you see this logo on our social channels, you can be sure that you’re getting valuable tips, resources and information about Athletic Therapy. If you’re an Athletic Therapist, don’t forget to incorporate this logo in your content once it has launched.

In 2022, we are looking forward to the continued resumption of our connections with each other. We cannot wait to implement increasingly more in-person opportunities to learn, network and gather together, such as our January Annual Members meeting, the WFATT World Congress, and our ongoing webinar series. Follow our activity on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to be the first to know of these exciting new developments.

The steady improvements we’ve seen during 2021 have us looking to the future of CATA with excitement and vigour as we renew our commitment to elite-level healthcare for all Canadians. We will continue to play a key role in injury prevention, conditioning, rehabilitation, and emergency care while we promote athletic therapy across Canada.  

Warm Regards,

Mélanie Levac, Executive Director & Tyler Quennell, President