August 15, 2023

Treating Tactical Athletes

What if you could carve your own path and work in a field that you’re passionate about? For many Certified Athletic Therapists across Canada, this is their reality. Whether that be in a more traditional setting, or a niche area, Certified ATs such as Anthony De Benedictis have been able to narrow in on their passion point and turn it into professional opportunities.

Anthony is a Certified AT, Career Firefighter and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach specializing in treating tactical athletes. He began his journey toward athletic therapy by studying at Sheridan College, where he graduated and became certified in 2019. Shortly thereafter, Anthony was hired part-time as a firefighter in his hometown which led him to go back to school to become a career firefighter. While studying and working at the fire college in Toronto, Anthony was also hired as a career firefighter.

While in one of his placements as part of his athletic therapy program, Anthony worked with tactical athletes at a multidisciplinary clinic. At this clinic, they focused on treating injuries as they occurred, but Anthony felt a focus on injury prevention was missing. With any athlete, you train them in the off seasons in preparation for their activity, and continue maintenance throughout the season; we should be thinking the same for tactical athletes to prevent injury rather than just treat them.

Anthony now knew that if professional athletes could have entire teams of athletic therapy support, emergency service personnel who are also incredibly active in their jobs should have the same. Being exposed to the worlds of firefighting, strength and conditioning coaching, and athletic therapy, Anthony knew that he could potentially fill this gap.

Today, Anthony is the Founder and Operator of 211 Performance Therapy which focuses on physical and mental fitness for tactical athletes, leads the physical fitness program at the Fire and Emergency Training Institute in Toronto, Ontario, and is a full-time career firefighter. Working with students who will be going through physical testing to get into emergency service departments, Anthony’s goal is to give them a good foundation for them to carry through their careers.

It is important to work with tactical athletes at the beginning of their careers for them to implement good habits right off the bat. One challenge Anthony deals with is convincing older, long-term tactical athletes of new behaviours that will help them meet their physical demands.

Anthony’s advice for those looking to go into a niche area of athletic therapy is to follow your passion. If you think you have an idea to fill a void, act on it instead of letting the idea sit; you may not know the proverbial gold you could be sitting on. Seek good counsel and put yourself in situations to determine whether your idea will be successful.

To find an athletic therapist to help you as a tactical athlete, visit the CATA website. Stay up to date with CATA by following us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!