1. Why did you pursue athletic therapy as your career?
Like many of us, I have always been passionate about sport. When it came time to think about “what do you want to do with your life” I began searching for different medical/sport related professions. Initially, that led me to completing my Kinesiology degree where I had my first exposure to the athletic therapy profession. I completed a special topics course called “Introduction to Athletic Training” and got the opportunity to shadow the only certified AT in Newfoundland at that time (Nick Addey-Jibb)…during these experiences I quickly realized that this is what I wanted to do.
2. What is your most memorable moment in regard to athletic therapy?
Working with a former elite athlete who lost his eye sight in his early 20’s because of a rare optic nerve neuropathy. Working with this individual, helping with his injuries, modifying exercises, etc. was something that was completely new to me at the time. But seeing their level of determination, positive attitude, motivation, and strength on a daily basis taught me so much about appreciating what you have in life. After a few months of working with him, he was able to regain some independence as we created a mental blueprint for him for the entire training facility. He knew how many steps it took to get from the squat rack to the bench, knew how to feel to find different weights, and used our verbal cues to remember proper technique.
3. Who are your biggest mentors and what impact have they had on you?
I have many mentors from my time at Sheridan as I consider myself to be very lucky to have been taught by some of the best: Joe Rotella, Anne Hartley, Elsa Orecchio, Chris Jackson, and Kirsty McKenzie. But particularly, I consider Dr. Loriann Hynes to be one of my most significant mentors. She has taught me many things in and out of the classroom about AT related topics and just life in general.
4. What is the most valuable advice you have received during your career?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Especially early in your career, people often think that asking is a sign of weakness. But it is ok to be unsure, find out the answer and use it as a learning experience.
5. What advice would you give to young athletic therapist starting out their profession?
1) Know your comfort zone and then avoid it…we all have a sport or two that we are really passionate about, probably one that initially drew you to the profession. Mine was hockey. But pursue opportunities outside of that comfort area, you never know what you will expose or find out about yourself.
2) Explore your options as an athletic therapist. Oftentimes, we get into the profession with a desire to work with a professional sports team (I know I did), but there are many other possibilities out there that you don’t even know about as a student. If you asked me 15 years ago where I would be now, my current job would not even be on my radar.
3) Network. Meet other ATs, find out what they do and how they got there. Again, there are many traditional and non-traditional routes that can lead to very rewarding and interesting careers.
6. What do you love most about being an AT?
The sense of community, comradery, and passion of the AT profession. I love watching a game, seeing two rival teams play against one another, and then see the ATs chatting before the game, or helping each other during more severe emergency situations.
7. What is the worst patient injury you have ever experienced and what did you do to treat it?
Dislocated talus, fractured medial malleolus, compound fracture of the fibula (same individual). Treated for shock, monitored vitals, splinted, waited for EMS. Accompanied athlete to hospital, visited frequently while they were an inpatient waiting for surgery, then rehab, rehab, rehab. The athlete and his parents appreciated this level of dedication but really we all do it without even thinking about it. I did it because I know I would appreciate it if the shoe was on the other foot.
8. How do you promote the profession of Athletic Therapy?
I work in a unique setting where I get to teach about athletic therapy related topics to a large group of students who are not in athletic therapy programs. So I get to promote the profession by educating others about the profession, scope of practice, where we work, and what we do. Most of our kinesiology students decide to pursue other opportunities (physiotherapy, medicine, exercise professionals, educators, etc.) but all of them come out of here knowing a lot about the athletic therapy profession (shout out to the all the other athletic therapists at Acadia as well who also do a great job of this).