June 15, 2023
Athletic Therapy Month: Athletic Therapy in Action
Athletic therapy isn’t your typical 9-5; it’s a unique field, with Certified Athletic Therapists working in a wide variety of settings and capacities. From a neighbourhood sports medicine clinic to a community soccer game, to the Olympics, find Certified Athletic Therapists working in professional sports in Canada and internationally, recreational sports centres and youth activities, occupational health-industrial settings, the public sector, the performing arts, academic settings, athletic therapy education programs, and more.
To commemorate this year’s Athletic Therapy Month, we’re sharing the experiences of 7 Certified Athletic Therapists. Find out where you can find athletic therapy in action and how these Certified Athletic Therapists are preventing and treating the injuries sustained by everyday active Canadians.
Working with Professional Athletes: Tristan Castonguay
Tristan works as the head athletic therapist for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. He oversees the rehabilitation team and coordinates medical providers so that the players get the best and quickest treatments possible. Tristan believes that Certified Athletic Therapists hold an especially important and unique position in football operations, focusing on the care and wellbeing of the athlete first and then the team second, overriding the wants of management and coaching staff. With this approach to his work, Tristan's team has been able to gain players’ confidence and become a helpful resource, serving as the first resort for players to consult on football-related injuries, as well as everyday injuries.
Working in Occupational Health: Jennifer Johnson-Kornacki
Certified Athletic Therapist Jennifer Johnson-Kornacki has been running a clinic and working with industrial athletes for almost 20 years. Jennifer called her clinic the SMART clinic, centering the name on the premise that they are accessible for everyone, not only sports athletes, to come and heal the smart way. The clinic focuses on sports medicine and rehabilitation, as well as education, awareness, and techniques for improving ways of work to prevent future injury. The SMART clinic works with a wide range of industrial athletes, including office workers, truck drivers, auto workers, nurses and many more.
Working in the Public Sector: Mike Matthies and Alexandra Black
The BC Wildfire Occupational Athlete Project began a few years ago to help prevent injuries for people who worked with the BC Wildfire Service. Mike Matthies and Alexandra Black worked in this program in 2022, focussing their work on injury prevention, performing both ergonomic assessments and injury assessments. Through their work, Alexandra and Mike make sure that public service workers such as firefighters are able to perform to the best of their ability. The BC Wildfire Occupational Athlete Project has been a rewarding experience for both of them, gaining new experiences and opening people's eyes to what athletic therapists do and how they can help.
Working in Performing Arts: Schad Richea
Schad Richea has worked with performing artists for almost 9 years including singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks. Schad thinks athletic therapy is now making strides towards working with anyone who is active: performing artists, people who work in law enforcement, and in a wide variety of other physically demanding professions. People who make their money on how they move, like performing artists, rely on Certified Athletic Therapists to stay in top physical condition; if the performer can’t perform, the whole tour team struggles or can’t work. Schad’s influence as an athletic therapist can determine whether the show can go on. Schad’s favourite part of his profession is working with motivated people, empowering artists to take control over their own rehabilitation.
Working in Academic Settings: Dr. Amanda Black
Dr. Amanda Black has been a Certified Athletic Therapist since 2010 and is currently an assistant research professor at the University of Calgary, specializing in research-related sports injury prevention. Her decision to focus on research related to sports injury came from her own lived experience both as an athlete and athletic therapist. Dr. Amanda Black believes that Certified Athletic Therapists have a crucial role in the lives of their athletes, being with them throughout everything from before injury, to recovery and rehabilitation. She has loved working as an athletic therapist and being able to make a big difference in the lives of athletes by helping them return to sports safely so they can continue to do what they love.
Working in Athletic Therapy Education Programs: Breda Eubank
A Certified Athletic Therapist since 2004, Breda Eubank is an assistant professor at Mount Royal University in the Health and Physical Education department and a member of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Sport Medicine Team. Thanks to inspiring mentors in her own studies, Breda was drawn to her own career in education to teach the next generation of first-year athletic therapy students. Breda introduces students to some of the different avenues they can pursue post-graduation and builds sustainability for Certified Athletic Therapists outside of traditional roles. With a goal of improving care pathways, Breda is involved in the development of Rapid Access Clinics for musculoskeletal care in Alberta and the integration of Certified Athletic Therapists as expert assessors in the clinics. Through this, Breda hopes to inspire her students to become leaders and garner support to have athletic therapy recognized across the country.
Certified Athletic Therapists treat many patients, from kids with concussions to seniors recovering from hip replacement surgery. Using the Sports Medicine model, Certified Athletic Therapists are effective in treating the injuries sustained by everyday active Canadians.
To learn more about Athletic Therapy in Canada, visit CATA’s website. .