May 15, 2023
Working as a Certified Athletic Therapist and Military Medic
Certified Athletic Therapists serve a wide range of clientele, from professional athletes to recreational athletes, performers, people with everyday injuries, and so much more. In areas where there is a higher military presence, such as by a military base, military personnel become clients of Certified Athletic Therapists to treat and prevent injury in their line of work and service.
We spoke with Audrée Dufresne, CAT(C) to learn more about her role as a military medic and Certified Athletic Therapist, working with both veterans and those currently active in the military.
Audrée is currently a Certified Athletic Therapist in Petawawa, Ontario, after starting her career as a personal trainer in Quebec. Audrée certified in 2021 and currently works at a clinic providing athletic therapy services, runs an online fitness program for female veterans, and serves as a military medic. Although each service is unique, Audrée has been able to marry the three to enhance her work as a Certified Athletic Therapist.
While Audrée was working as a personal trainer in Quebec, she felt stuck and didn’t see a career path for herself outside the walls of the gym. However, while working in this role, a few of her colleagues were going through Athletic Therapy programs and introduced her to the field. Audrée grew up playing sports and was already a well-versed personal trainer, so it was a great next step for her to become a Certified Athletic Therapist.
Today, Audrée works at a multidisciplinary clinic in Petewawa, the location of one of Ontario’s largest military bases. Because of its location, much of the clinic's clientele are members of the military. Some of the most common injuries Audrée sees are musculoskeletal injuries such as chronic back, shoulder and arm injuries, occurring from repetitive movements from military work. To combat injury, Audrée encourages her clients to do the necessary background work to keep their bodies in good shape. Because their job is incredibly physical, it is important that their bodies can meet the demands of their job.
Similarly to how her eyes were opened to the field of athletic therapy, Audrée learned about the military reserves and the role of a military medic when she was a personal trainer. Driven to be the best she can be as a Certified Athletic Therapist, being a military medic offered Audrée the opportunity to learn techniques from other fields such as nursing or paramedics. Today, Audrée is part of the reserves for an artillery unit, where her role is to follow artillery troops and help them medically, amongst other responsibilities. Because of the high value that being in the reserves added to her practice as an Athletic Therapist, Audrée encourages all Certified Athletic Therapists to consider joining the reserves.
Through her online fitness program, Audrée helps female veterans with their strength and conditioning free of charge, funded by Veterans Affairs and the Quebec Veterans Foundation. This role aligns with the Scope of Practice under her Athletic Therapy certification.
Although Audrée’s three roles are unique, they are all aligned under the same common goal: to prevent and treat injuries so that individuals can get back to their usual activities.
Since beginning her career as a Certified Athletic Therapist, Audrée has developed a passion for working in this space. The tempo of the work, expectation to deliver quality results, and the ownership of her clients over their own health are some of Audrée’s favourite things about her job.
Audrée has noticed a change in the military community to become much more prevention-oriented, working to ensure injuries don’t develop over time. As being able to perform your best is so ingrained in military culture, they encourage proactive muscle care, promoting athletic therapy as a preventative treatment option. Many of her clients will request programs to increase their mobility to prevent injury, rather than just requesting treatment for preexisting conditions. The military community is very appreciative of Certified Athletic Therapists, with strong client relationships forming out of the incredible reception clients have towards Certified Athletic Therapists' knowledge, solutions, and treatments.
Working with the military is often not top of mind for people considering the industry; however, military professionals don’t get enough credit for the physical work they do; this means there is lots of opportunity for Certified Athletic Therapists. A wide variety of jobs are available for Certified Athletic Therapists looking to work within the military or with adjacent clinics. Audrée encourages Athletic Therapists to reach out to bases and clinics nearby to inquire about what opportunities are available.