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Athletic Therapy

What is Athletic Therapy? 

A Certified Athletic Therapist – CAT (C) is a healthcare professional with an expertise in emergency care and in the prevention, identification, intervention and management of acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. An athletic therapist improves the performance of professional and amateur athletes through sport-specific training that helps prevent injuries.

Who should consult an Athletic Therapist? 

Athletic therapists can work with most clients looking to improve or maintain their:

  • Athletic performance
  • Daily activities
  • Active lifestyle

Specifically, they might work with:

  • Athletes of all levels
  • Pregnant or postpartum women
  • Active or athletic people
  • Elderly
  • People suffering with sports related concussions 
  • People who have musculoskeletal injuries related or not to sports
  • Etc…

Why consult an Athletic Therapist? 

Athletic therapists’ main objectives are: to treat musculoskeletal injuries, whether in clinic or on the field; to prevent injuries while practicing a sport or an activity such as gardening; and to improve the client’s active lifestyle regardless of their condition. 

Specifically, the athletic therapist will:

  • Conduct an orthopedic assessment and offer treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries for a quick recovery and return to one’s lifestyle
  • Be the first responder for emergency care at sporting events
  • Assess and manage concussions
  • Create warm-up, physical conditioning and rehabilitation programs
  • Offer advice and provide biomechanical, postural and ergonomic assessments
  • Offer prophylactic support techniques and “tapings”
  • Select and adjust protective sports equipment 
  • Advise and inform to help prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries

What to expect during an appointment with an Athletic Therapist? 

Appointments vary between clients and will also vary depending on their location, whether in clinic or on the field. Generally speaking though, the therapist will start with an assessment that includes several questions regarding the client’s physical condition in order to determine:

  • Onset of the pain 
  • Current state
  • Symptoms and their location
  • Medical, injury and family histories
  • Medication, if applicable
  • Current and past sports activities
  • Functional capacities
  • Gait, posture and alignment
  • Neurological conditions, if any
  • Range of motion and muscle strength
  • Stability of the joints and muscles
  • Short, medium and long term goals

The sports therapist will then use manual therapy, myofascial therapy, mobilizations, electrotherapy, ultrasound, cryotherapy or any other relevant techniques to restore joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

If necessary, they will analyze the gestures and movements relating to the specific sport and will recommend rehabilitation or muscle strengthening, balance or functional exercises. They may also provide specific exercises to improve flexibility and coordination of the limbs. These may help with muscle coordination and in relearning normal levels of control in movements.