You do not need to be an athlete to see an athletic therapist; their ideal client is a motivated individual with a positive attitude willing to take the necessary steps to deal with their injury to pursue their goals.
Best known for returning professional and elite athletes back to their sport after an injury, Certified Athletic Therapists use the same sport medicine approach to quickly rehabilitate your injury – resulting in faster recovery, reduced chance of further injury, and fewer visits to your health care professional.
Athletic therapists adhere to the Sports Medicine Model of care. They treat a wide range of patients, from kids with concussions to seniors recovering from hip replacement surgery, using various manual therapies, modalities, exercise prescription and even bracing and taping. The treatment varies but the objective doesn’t: an Athletic Therapist's goal is to help clients return to their usual activities, whether that means playing competitive sports or walking to the mailbox and back.
Clients can expect one-on-one attention during their visit, with an active aggressive approach to injury rehabilitation. A typical visit employs a combination of methods such as manual therapies, soft tissue mobilizations, dynamic exercise, therapeutic modalities, and detailed home programs to accelerate their progress. Athletic Therapists can:
- Diagnose and Treat Acute injuries: Sprains and Strains
- Assist in your rehabilitation of a Motor Vehicle Accident with manual Therapy or Exercise Rehabilitation
- Diagnose and Treat Chronic Repetitive injuries
- Preparation and Maintenance Care for Sporting Events
Athletic Therapists must complete a Bachelor’s degree in addition to completing the Athletic Therapy program at one of seven CATA accredited institutions in Canada. Certification Candidates must hold a valid First Responder certificate and complete 1,200 hours of on-field and in-clinic practical training. Once qualified, Candidates attempt the National Certification Examination including a comprehensive written and practical exam.
After successful completion of the exam, Candidates receive the title Certified Athletic Therapist, designated by the letters CAT(C).
The Athletic Therapist must ensure they remain up-to-date with current trends and new research in the areas of rehabilitation, orthopedic assessment and emergency care and have ongoing Continuing Education requirements to remain certified with the national Association.
Many insurance companies cover Athletic Therapy, it is often in the same para-medical category as Physiotherapy. Since coverage is dependent upon individual policies, it is best to call your 1-800 # to check your coverage. Some companies which include Athletic Therapy coverage:
- Liberty Health
- Great West Life
- All sport
- Canadian Hockey Association
- Industrial Alliance
- The Cooperators