Friday, May 8, 2015

Athletic Therapy & Physiotherapy Part 1

Athletic Therapy - Academy Massage - Massage Therapist in Winnipeg

How similar are athletic therapy and physiotherapy? 

Here at Academy Massage this is a question we are frequently asked by those clients seeking the correct course of therapy for pains and/or injuries they might have incurred through various physical mishaps. In fact, as far as treatment procedures go, there is very little difference as both employ manual therapy, modalities, acupuncture and prescribe proper exercise.

The main difference between Athletic (or Sports) Therapy and Physiotherapy is in the education and training as each has a specific scope of practice and designation: A Certified Athletic Therapist in Canada is CAT(C), and a licensed physiotherapist is PT. In this, the first installment of our two-part May blog, we will discuss the practice of Athletic Therapy.

A Certified Athletic Therapist specializes in injury prevention and the immediate care and rehabilitation, should an injury occur, specifically as it relates to team sports or one's individual athletic regimen, be that running, swimming, handball, a strenuous workout at the gym - or even training for an upcoming marathon or triathlon. The prevention program includes musculoskeletal (the muscles, bones and joints of the body) and postural evaluation, a warm-up procedure and conditioning, prophylactic or supportive taping, proper equipment selection, fitting and repair, and adapting the individual to the activity, environment, and facilities. They are also likely to be participants in sports and therefore understand these specific injuries and the demands placed upon athletes in order to compete.

The Athletic Therapist is also trained to assess, evaluate and provide the proper treatment to acute sports trauma. This may include applying on-site first aid or preparation for entry into an appropriate health facility. Athletic therapists frequently employ an aggressive treatment protocol to facilitate the healing process, and have yielded quite successful results. Because of their overall effectiveness in trauma prevention and injury management, Athletic Therapists work closely with professional and national teams, and also in sports clinics across the country.

The education and training is comprehensive and intensive. Athletic Therapists must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution as well as an advanced certification in Athletic Therapy. In addition, they are required to intern at least 1200 hours of practical experience divided into 600 hours of clinical and 600 hours of on-field experience under supervision of a Certified Athletic Therapist. Once candidates have completed these internship hours, hold a valid CPR and First Aid Certificate, and have written support from their supervisor, they are required to write a three-hour examination. 

Candidates must also complete two practical exams which focus on emergency care, modalities, assessment, taping, and rehabilitation. After successful completion, they must maintain good standing with the Canadian Athletic Therapy Association to receive the CAT(C) designation. It is a demanding training schedule that is necessary to ensure injuries are both properly evaluated and attended to.

Whether preparing for an athletic event or suffering pain from a sports-related injury, we recommend that you book an appointment with Academy Massage to discuss with one of our certified and qualified Athletic Therapists the treatment best for you.

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