What is Athletic Therapy and What We Do

Athletic Therapy ImageCertified Athletic Therapists are skilled practitioners that provide care for people who have suffered an injury whether it be acute or chronic. They are experts in the areas of manual therapy, exercise rehabilitation/therapeutic exercise and training for athletic performance. Techniques used may include a combination of manual therapy (hands on soft tissue and joint manipulation), rehabilitative exercises (exercise therapy), one on one training and home care routine design.

The provision of on field immediate care of athletic injuries by a Certified Athletic Therapist includes: injury assessment, basic emergency life support, recognition and management of acute traumatic neurological dysfunction, provision of first aid, preparation for entrance into appropriate health care delivery systems, or, where appropriate, utilization of techniques facilitating a safe return to participation.

Skills And Scope of Practice

– Manual Soft Tissue Mobilization
– Joint Mobilization
– Myofascial Trigger Point Release
– Active Release
– Assisted Stretching
– Therapeutic Modalities
– Concussion Testing & Management
– Supportive Taping & Wrapping
– Kinesio Taping
– Exercise Rehabilitation
– Fitness Program Design

What Can An Athletic Therapist (AT) Help Me With?

– Recover from Acute & Chronic Injuries
– Diagnose and Treat Acute Injuries like sprains and strains, knee & shoulder injuries and more.
– Preparation or Improvement of Sport Performance
– Fitness Program Design for people new to exercising

Athletic Therapist’s focus on immediate care, preventative care and body reconditioning. It is appropriate for all age groups and all fitness levels. AT’s provide all the necessary tools and resources a client requires for optimal healing in preparation for safe reintegration into an active, pain-free lifestyle.

What is the Difference between an Athletic Therapist and a Physiotherapist?

Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy are two distinct professional designations; the differences lies in the scope of practice and educational training they receive.

The formal education of the Athletic Therapist is entirely in the area of assessment and rehabilitation of sports specific orthopaedic injuries and conditions that affect the muscles, bones and joints of the body. Their specialization lies in musculoskeletal injuries sustained through physical activity, this covers a wide range of individuals from manual labourers to high performance athletes. That training is augmented with injury prevention, supportive taping, and emergency care for on-field work with teams. They possess additional training in exercise physiology and strength and conditioning to retrain athletes to pre-injury performance levels or conditioning programs for injury prevention.

The Physiotherapist’s formal education has a wider scope that includes orthopaedics, cardio-respiratory rehab, burn patients, pediatrics, geriatrics, stroke rehab, and rehabilitation for neurological diseases. Their training is therefore broader in the rehabilitation of various musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular disorders. Typically, a physiotherapist will have to take continuing education courses to expand or specialize in one of the above areas of interest once they graduate and focus their attention in one area within their scope of practice. As an example to specialize in sports specific orthopaedics to the extent of an AT, a PT would need certification as a Level III Sports Physiotherapist.

So what does it all mean? An Athletic Therapy degree and education focuses on musculoskeletal injury for eight consecutive semesters. Certified Athletic Therapists are therefore are the most highly trained therapists in Canada with regards to sports injury and rehabilitation of activity-related injury. If you want to get back to activity Athletic Therapists will be the best person to help you.

Is Athletic Therapy Covered By My Insurance Company?

Athletic Therapy coverage is in fact now available for extended health care plans with all major insurance companies but subject to individual policies. If AT is not included don’t panic! Please contact us and we will provide you with the proper materials to request it to be added to your plan, usually an “and/or” rider which means you can be covered by Physiotherapy “and/or” Athletic Therapy while maintaining the same maximum. Also remember, “Physiotherapy” is usually the default and more ‘well known’ service, that does not mean that Athletic Therapy will not be accepted, a simple call to your insurance company can give clarification.

Utilize your benefits! Are you a member of a sporting association? AT coverage may be included. The following associations have this coverage available:
– Hockey Canada
– Rollersport Canada *
– Alpine Canada
– Snowboard Canada
– Judo Canada
– Canadian Ski & Snowboard Association
*noted paramedical services were non-specific
– Members of AthletesCAN can purchase extended health insurance at a very affordable price!
– Members (coach, athlete, manager, official) of a Sporting Body, Provincial team, or any established teams or clubs are eligible to enroll in the Canadian Athlete Insurance Program (CAIP) for a very affordable price, and the biggest addition is the coverage of overuse injuries.

To get you started here’s a few examples of Insurance Companies that provide Athletic Therapy Coverage:
– All Sport
– Great West Life
– Greenshield
– Empire

No Insurance? But Did You Know…

That if you keep your receipts, you can claim your medical expenses on your taxes! Within your extended health plan, you may have a bank for ‘miscellaneous’ expenses to cover extra costs or you may have a health care spending account with which services provided by your Athletic Therapists will also be covered.