What is Athletic Therapy?
Athletic Therapy is a health care profession that specializes in the prevention, assessment and care of musculoskeletal disorders (muscles, bones, joints) especially as they relate to athletics and the pursuit of physical activity.
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
- Utilization of techniques facilitating a safe return to participation
Scope of Practice of Athletic Therapy
The scope of practice devised by the OATA Board is:
“The practice of Athletic Therapy is the diagnosis and treatment from the point of injury along the continuum of care, or physical disease, disorder or dysfunction to rehabilitate function, relieve and manage pain and includes the prevention of physical injury, disease, disorder or dysfunction.” (http://www.ontarioathletictherapists.org/page-1132545)
WHAT DOES AN ATHLETIC THERAPIST DO?
The Athletic Therapist, in cooperation with other members of the health care team, is an integral part of a total service to maximize individuals’ performance and welfare. The Athletic Therapist also nurtures an attitude of positive health.
A Certified Athletic Therapist utilizes contemporary rehabilitative techniques, therapeutic modalities, physical reconditioning and supportive strapping procedures to promote optimal healing and prepares the individual for safe reintegration into an active lifestyle.
WHERE DO ATHLETIC THERAPISTS PRACTISE?
The Ontario Athletic Therapist Association (OATA) governs the practice of all Certified Athletic Therapists in the province of Ontario. A member must complete an internship comprised of both clinical and field work first, then complete and be successful on a stringent written national examination. Canadian Athletic Therapists must participate in a mandatory maintenance of certification program.
This ensures that all Athletic Therapists annually demonstrate that they continue to be current with the developments in their professional field. Athletic Therapy is one of the very few Canadian health care professions that requires its members to upgrade on an annual basis.
The OATA endeavours to ensure that all of its members are offering safe and effective treatment to all of their clients and patients. Continuing education programs, examination preparation courses, publications and participation as a member of the Sports Medicine Council of Ontario are examples of the many initiatives undertaken by the OATA.