What is an Athletic Therapist?

Athletic Therapist treating a patient

An Athletic Therapist is a healthcare professional that specializes in helping people stay active in a healthy and pain-free manner. While we might be most recognizable when working with professional athletes, or at major sporting events like the Olympics; most Athletic Therapists also work with the general public in clinical settings and at universities.

Working with athletes

Athletic Therapists are experts in the field of musculoskeletal injury assessment, treatment and prevention; a profession born from a need to ensure a high level of care on the sidelines of athletic competition. Working directly with teams and athletes, Athletic Therapists have experience through the entire injury process. They are usually the first to see an injury happen and assess it on site, providing immediate emergency care. We then treat our clients through the entire rehabilitation and recovery process.

As sport medicine professionals, we also implement return to activity programming and long-term prevention strategies to reduce the risk of re-injury.

Working with the public

In the clinic, Athletic Therapists use all of the techniques that return athletes to play, to help people like your return to work, learn to walk after a surgery, or get back to normal when chronic conditions or the strains of daily living have left you in pain.

Trained in acute injury assessment and management, working with an Athletic Therapist may include the use of different treatment options like:

  • ultrasound
  • massage
  • electrical modalities
  • laser
  • shockwave
  • different types of taping or bracing
  • different types of manual therapies
  • most importantly, Athletic Therapists are known for the use of exercise as medicine; we specialize in creating customized exercise programs that mimic the movements you need to perform and scale them to the intensity that will be expected of you when treatment ends

Training to become an Athletic Therapist

In Canada, to become an Athletic Therapist, an individual must attend a specialized program at one of eight accredited post-secondary institutions. These programs include all of the theoretical knowledge, as well as mandatory practical training (working with teams and in clinics), needed to start a career in Athletic Therapy. After completion at the accredited university, each practitioner must also pass a national certification exam before being allowed to practice.

However, our education doesn’t stop when we pass our National Certification Exam. Every Athletic Therapist must complete annual professional continuing education to maintain and improve on the skills and knowledge necessary to provide you with the best care possible. 

Regardless of what activity you want to get back to, an Athletic Therapist can help. As highly qualified healthcare professionals, we provide comprehensive and consistent care to our clients to help both reduce the risk of injury and get you back to enjoying life after an injury or illness.

Do you need help recovering from an accident, injury or illness, or want to hire an Athletic Therapist for an event, find one near you today.

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