The second an injury occurs, the main goal for an Athletic Therapist is to get the person back to their sport or activity, in a way that boosts confidence, and effectively manages any factors that could contribute to repeating or chronic injury. Athletic Therapists are experts when it comes to on-site and initial care of athletic injuries, and are excited to work through gradually returning those with issues back to their activities with the proper reconditioning.
Athletic Therapists are often seen on the field/ice/court/mat. They often provide behind the scenes work to keep individual or groups of athletes healthy, as well as respond to any emergent situation. We are the glue that keeps the ship running smoothly, from training to competition, and everywhere in between, depending on your goals.
Their job is to recognize anything harmful to an athletes' health, and mitigate further complications from arising. This can encompass concussion prevention and return to play protocols, preventing heat/cold illness when training, proper fluid and nutrition replacement, injury prevention warm-ups and cool-downs, prophylactic taping, and even recognizing allergies or skin conditions.
What sets them apart from Physiotherapists is their ability to care for an injury right after the instant it occurs, and continue care right up until returning to the field/ice/court/mat again. Their primary goal is to get athletes back to their sports as efficiently and safely as possible.
AT is Not Just for Athletes
AT's understand the body by how a sport and the body mechanics can stress the body. This is not exclusive of everyday movement and daily stressors to the bones, muscles and joints. Everyone is an athlete in their own life, and deserves care tailored to that!
Is AT different than a "trainer" or Physio?
Yes, AT's are definitely different! Any person can be named a "trainer," and this can mean variable knowledge and skills. The title "trainer" is not regulated by professional standards or formal years of education. AT's are ready to respond to keep someone alive if an emergency occured, or return someone back to their activity safely and effictively. You want someone trained for that, with no guesswork!
A Physiotherapist has a scope of practice that is focused on more medical conditions and diseases related to the respiratory or nervous system, but can also treat musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Most Physiotherapists are MSK practitioners, but you can often find Physiotherapists in hospitals, helping patients recover after open heart surgery or a stroke, for example.
Read a blog post Erin has written on the Alberta Athletic Therapist Association website here.