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would be considered certified, while a P.T. is reg- istered. But there are other differences that are more relevant to an athlete’s decision on who to see for an injury. When an A.T. graduates from school they

will have an excellent sports medicine base of knowledge on which to build. This knowledge ranges from emergency medical skills, equip- ment selection/repair, supportive taping, assess- ment and extensive rehabilitation techniques that are useful in whatever setting they choose. Generally, an A.T. specializes in athletic settings like a sports medicine clinic or a professional team. An example is the training staff of the To- ronto Argonauts or Montreal Alouettes, all of whom are Certified Athletic Therapists. Athletic Therapists can also be found in a more diverse area such as fitting for sports braces, fitness as- sessments or sports specific training. Conversely, when a Physiotherapist gradu-

ates from University they will be skilled in all areas of rehabilitation (strokes, burns, ortho- paedic etc.), as well as, clinical assessment and rehabilitation skills. Therefore, you would most often find a P.T. within the hospital or clinical setting. This is not always the norm, because P.T.’s can also be found with professional teams. Kevin Wagner who was the head therapist with the Ottawa Senators is a combination Physio- therapist and Athletic Therapist

Making the choice Now that the educational differences have

been established, the question still remains, who should you go see for a separated shoulder from last week’s game? That, of course, depends upon your preference. Some athletes feel an Athletic Therapist will be better trained to deal with all stages of the athlete’s rehabilitation and better understand the sport of hockey because of their educational background. A Physiotherapist however who has taken their three S.P.D. levels (Sports Physiotherapy Division), will be con- sidered at the same sports medicine level as an A.T. Unfortunately, a Physio, who has not taken these courses, may not have a clear understand- ing of the demands placed upon different joints in a sport such as hockey. However, this does not mean they will not be able to rehabilitate the injury, but rather that their understanding of sport specific exercises may not always be ap- propriate.

Insurance coverage Unfortunately, an obstacle Athletic Therapy

currently faces is the lack of insurance compa- nies that provide A.T. coverage. For those of you that have extended health care, check to see if they cover Athletic Therapy. If they do, they are only one of the dozen companies that currently do. The association is trying to get legislated

within Ontario, so that we would be covered by all health care plans, and open up the opportu- nity for more Athletic Therapists in your area.

So, if you are injured or seeing someone at the moment, try to find out what profession they are. You may be surprised to find out they may not be what you thought. Don’t be shy to also find out about their educational back- ground, such as what post-secondary school they attended and what rehabilitation courses they may have taken since graduation. If you need to go for therapy, determine whom you would like to see first, and when calling, ask to see if they have that profession on staff. Just remem- ber, even though the clinic calls themselves a sports injuries centre that does not always mean that staff members are sports qualified. They must have at least one of the following to call themselves a sports clinic: an Athletic Therapist, Sports Physiotherapist, Sports Chiropractor or Sports Medicine Physician.

Russell Gunner is a Certified Athletic Therapist and a Licensed Acupuncturist. He started with Club Physio Plus at ORC in 2001, and became part owner in 2005. He has worked for the To- ronto Maple Leafs and many other national and professional athletes for over 21 years. Call him at (905) 822-1823 to set-up an appointment or email him at

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