Athletic Therapists are experts in musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. This is accomplished after a highly demanding 4 year program, at an applicable university, to achieve a degree of Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences. This program focuses primarily on rehabilitation, assessment, prevention and restoring of the musculoskeletal system through maintaining and maximizing the bodies movement to relieve pain and increase your quality of life. Following this program there is an intense national certification exam of a written and practical that must be passed in order to work in Canada as a Certified Athletic Therapist. They are typically found working in a clinical setting or with a sports team in a field setting providing emergency care.
It is very common to have the name give a false representation of who they can treat. They do specialize in athletes as the name provides, but they are also trained in MVA’s (motor vehicle accidents), work injuries (the industrial athlete), post-operation, and everyday aches and pains.
The regulating body of the profession is the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) and each province across Canada has a provincial chapter as well.
The definition of the profession provided by the national association is as follows:
“Certified Athletic Therapists are best known for their quick-thinking on-field emergency care of professional and elite athletes. The first to respond when someone gets hurt, they are experts at injury assessment and rehabilitation. It’s that same mix of on-site care and active rehabilitation skills that makes Athletic Therapists so effective in treating the musculoskeletal (muscles, bones, and joints) injuries of all Canadians, whether on the field or in the clinic.
Athletic therapists adhere to the Sports Medicine Model of care. They treat a wide range of patients, from kids with concussions to seniors recovering from hip replacement surgery, using various manual therapies, modalities, exercise prescription and even bracing and taping. The treatment varies but the objective doesn’t: an Athletic Therapist’s goal is to help clients return to their usual activities, whether that means playing competitive sports or walking to the mailbox and back.”
More information can be found on their website: https://athletictherapy.org/en.
Want to learn what the difference is between an Athletic Therapist and a Physiotherapist? Click here and read my blog post explaining the difference.