Student life: Taylor Cochrane’s journey to become an Athletic Therapist

Hello, my name is Taylor Cochrane, and I am a third-year athletic therapy (AT) student at Sheridan College.

My journey to athletic therapy was a bit of a round-a-bout. After graduating high school, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to end up but knew I wasn’t cut out for a desk job. So, I decided to go to NAIT to get my Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT) diploma. It was there, I got my first taste of athletic therapy as a student trainer working with the women’s varsity volleyball team.

After graduating and starting work as a personal trainer, I quickly realized I wasn’t super passionate about it. So back to school I went. I started my kinesiology degree but still wasn’t sure where to go from there. However, that all changed when the Toronto Blue Jays hired a female Head Athletic Therapist. I was excited to see doors opening for women in professional sports and this reminded me of my love for the field aspect of AT. Soon after that I applied to AT programs at Sheridan College and Mount Royal University. I got into Sheridan, and that’s where my AT journey officially begins.  

Taylor Cochrane, athletic therapy student

Becoming an athletic therapist

From the moment I first stepped foot into the lecture rooms at Sheridan, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. It’s such a great AT community to be a part of. The workload is intense, and with the exception of first year, we have placement each semester. In my second year, I was placed with the Brampton Canadettes Junior A female hockey team. This included travelling every weekend for games, making it to every practice, which made for some late nights, all the while learning major foundational pieces like emergency care, anatomy and clinical presentations.

Though the third year has looked a little different, it is the heaviest course load. We are learning our clinical assessment and rehabilitation, along with the anatomy of the spine, head, neck, abdomen and thorax. It may be the most difficult year out of the four, but I have enjoyed it so much. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together and I absolutely love that I am starting to learn treatment techniques!

AT is very rewarding, but the schooling is challenging. The scope of what ATs need to know, along with the placements that we have to participate in during the school year, makes us learn time management and discipline very quickly.

For me, athletic therapy is the best of both worlds. You can be part of a sports team and create unbelievable connections with the coaching staff and players, or you can work in a clinical environment, helping people live pain-free. The versatility of this profession is incredible and the possibilities of a career in AT are endless. 

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