If you’ve been injured before, then you know the stress that comes with it. You’re in constant pain and it limits what you are physically capable of doing. Be it a sports or work scenario, it places you in a position of concern.
Athletic Therapy is a method of health care that is not familiar to most. The Canadian Athletic Therapy Association (CATA) was originally established and in 1965, which makes it fairly new in the perspective of all other health practices in Canada. The profession has its roots in providing care for athletes in various sports, the most popular at the time being hockey. The original CATA made use of the title as “Athletic Trainer” to describe a practitioner in this field. Eventually the title was changed to “Athletic Therapist” in order to denote the increased scope of knowledge and skill that was associated with the profession as time went on.
So what does Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT(C)) do?
There are three main areas that an Athletic Therapist can help you out:
Injury Prevention: Athletic Therapists can recognize potential dangers to any individual. In a sports setting, this may mean scoping the playing surface to see if there are any potential hazards (debris or uneven surfaces), checking quality of the athlete’s equipment, and maybe helping to conduct pre-season medical checks and strength and conditioning programs.
With the general population, injury prevention can come in the form of checking work habits and work postures in the office or industrial setting, conducting assessments for biomechanics and injury susceptibility, and as well conducting a strength and conditioning program that will help with preventing the likelihood of injury (no this is NOT the same as having a personal trainer, even though there may be some overlap of ideas).
Immediate Care For Injury: Your Athletic Therapist will be trained and certified as a First Responder. Whether on the field or somewhere in the public you can count on an Athletic Therapist to help with splinting a fracture, stopping a nosebleed, or just making sure you’re still in one piece until the EMS arrives. The added benefit of an Athletic Therapist being a First Responder is that they are extremely knowledgeable about human anatomy. This assists in expanding the various methods of care that can be provided to you in case you or a loved one is hurt and requires the assistance. If the injury happens during a sport or activity then it is especially important to have an Athletic Therapist on hand, since they will also be very familiar with the given sport and will have a better idea of how the injury happened and the steps following that will help you back into activity. Depending on the injury, they may even be able to provide techniques that can help manage the injury for the remainder of the activity. This is where knowledge in injury assessment and use of various taping techniques can let you know the extent of your injury and provide the best possible support for your injury until you can get the appropriate care. This is where our next point becomes important….
Rehabilitation From Injury: Your Athletic Therapist can take you from the point of injury to beyond your normal life activities. Athletic Therapy makes the use of the following for patient care:
- Manual techniques – massage, assisted stretching, joint and soft tissue manipulation, etc
- Modalities – ultrasound, laser, etc
- Exercise for strength and conditioning of the injury site
- Taping/Bracing to support the injury site
Athletic Therapy makes use of a stepwise active process that will bring you from the point of your injury (both chronic and acute injuries) to being able to function in normal daily activities (activities of daily living, or ADLs), and even further into being able to participate in your given sport or activity. You have the benefit of improving the function of the injured area, and as well have the opportunity to improve your overall fitness. If you are new to strength and conditioning, you can use this as an opportunity to start getting into higher levels of physical activity with a coach or with someone knowledgeable in an activity of your interest.
As mentioned before, you don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits. An Athletic Therapist is capable of rehabbing general aches and pains and as well as work place and motor vehicle injuries. Most insurance companies will provide coverage for this type of care, but in the event that they don’t it is usually no more than a request away.
If you have any more questions about what a CAT(C) can do for you, feel free to contact your local Athletic Therapist.