“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen.”
– Shakti Gawain

Certified Athletic Therapy, Oak Bay BC

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What is Athletic/Sports Therapy?

Certified Athletic Therapists are skilled healthcare professionals that specialize in providing care for orthopedic injuries, whether acute or chronic. Furthermore, AT’s are experts at injury assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, reconditioning, and prevention. Athletic/sports Therapy treatments are based on the Sport Medicine Model, an active rehabilitation approach with an objective to find and treat the cause of conditions and not just the symptoms. This method also encourages the patient to follow an active approach to rehabilitating their injury rather than a passive, therapist-dependent approach or reliance on modalities. This leads to faster recovery, decreases risk of re-injury, and reinforces treatment outcomes.Certified Athletic Therapists also are first responders, providing sideline emergency care for sports organizations.

Where are Athletic Therapists Employed?

Certified Athletic Therapists may be found in environments such as:

  • Multidisciplinary clinics
  • Professional sports
  • Olympic games (and other similar events)
  • Universities and Colleges (research and teaching)
  • High school, varsity, and amateur athletics
  • Industrial workplaces + more!

Scope of Practice and Treatment Techniques

The scope of practice of an Athletic Therapist begins with the education, training, and in-depth knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system, biomechanics, exercise physiology, and basic emergency care.

Athletic Therapists use a wide variety of treatment techniques, some of which include:

  • Manual Therapy
    • Joint mobilizations
    • Soft tissue mobilization
    • Myofascial trigger point release
    • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching (PNF)
  • Exercise Therapy and Prescription
  • Ultrasound
  • Cryotherapy
  • Thermotherapy
  • Laser
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Interferential Current (IFC)
  • Taping, bracing, padding

What Injuries do AT’s Treat?

Common injuries that Athletic Therapists treat may include, but are not limited to:

  • Acute and Chronic Injuries/conditions
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Muscle Strains
  • Concussion recognition, assessment, management, and baseline testing
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Low Back Pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Contusions
  • Bursitis, Fasciitis
  • Disc Herniation
  • Pre and Post-Surgical
  • Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
  • Postural Disorders
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • And many more!

What to expect during sports physical therapy?

Each appointment is 1-on-1, and includes a:

  • Detailed history
  • Comprehensive assessment
  • Treatment
  • Patient education
  • Individualized home exercise program

Each client has their medical history and treatment goals examined at the beginning of the initial appointment. Subsequent appointments will have a shorter history that will be taken to obtain any new information.

Afterwards, patients will undergo a physical examination in sports pt that includes a posture and gait analysis, a series of range of motion tests, functional testing, and palpation to determine the injury or condition, and the cause of pain.

Injury treatment is individualized for each patient, and may contain a combination of manual therapy, exercise therapy, and therapeutic modalities. Manual therapy techniques may include but are not limited to:

  • Active and passive soft tissue techniques
  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization
  • Assisted stretching
  • Myofascial trigger point release
  • Joint mobilizations

Following treatment, a home exercise program is created for the patient to complement and reinforce the treatment received and patient education is persistent throughout the whole session.

What Should I Expect From These Appointments?

Each patient will go through a detailed history in sports therapy, functional injury and movement assessment, and testing to gain further information about the injury/condition. Patients will be taken through exercises for treatment and rehabilitation. This session is focused on developing a treatment plan that includes injury education and exercise prescription.

Initial Consultation: 60 minutes

Patients undergo a comprehensive assessment and testing to determine the injury/condition, followed by treatment using manual therapy, various modalities and exercise prescription. Please book for new injuries and initial appointments. Please wear appropriate clothing for sessions (shorts, t-shirt, sports bra).


Follow-up: 60 minutes

Follow up treatment after an initial assessment. Please only book if you've undergone an initial assessment and if this appointment is for the same injury. Please wear appropriate clothing for sessions (shorts, t-shirt, sports bra).


Follow-up: 45 minutes

Follow up treatment after an initial assessment. Please only book if you've undergone an initial assessment and if this appointment is for the same injury. Please wear appropriate clothing for sessions (shorts, t-shirt, sports bra).


The Canadian Athletic Therapists Association oversees the certification process of Certified Athletic Therapists across the country. In addition to completing a Bachelor’s degree, Athletic Therapists must complete the Athletic Therapy program at one of eight CATA-accredited institutions in Canada, including on-field and in-clinic practical training. Certification Candidates must hold a valid First Responder certificate and, after graduating, must successfully pass the National Certification Examination.

And it doesn’t stop with certification. An Athletic Therapist must demonstrate they remain up-to-date with current trends and new research in the areas of rehabilitation, orthopaedic assessment and emergency care. This is done through professional development, which is why AT’s are required to achieve 21 continuing education credits every three years and maintain a valid BLS in order to continue to be certified by CATA.

Once certified, Candidates receive the title Certified Athletic Therapist, designated by the letters CAT(C)

Is It Like Physiotherapy?

  • Physiotherapists have a wider scope of practice that includes orthopaedics, as well as neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular rehabilitation.
  • Typically, physiotherapists will take continuing education courses to focus on one area within their scope of practice, which may or may not include orthopaedics.
  • Conversely, the education and scope of practice of Athletic Therapists is entirely dedicated to orthopaedics.

Is Athletic Therapy Only For Athletes?

It is a common misconception that Athletic/ Sports Therapy is only for athletes. In contrast, Athletic Therapy is for everyone! Whether you have suffered a physical injury during an activity, whether or not the injury is new or a chronic issue, Athletic Therapy is for all populations.

List of Insurance Companies

Some companies may not offer direct billing, and some require requests to add Athletic Therapy to their plan. Some companies may provide coverage for Athletic Therapy under other disciplines. It is therefore recommended that clients call their insurance companies to gauge their situation.

Some examples of associations that cover Athletic Therapy are:

  • All Sport Insurance Marketing
  • Canadian Hockey Association
  • Co-Operators
  • Empire
  • Canada Life
  • Greenshield
  • Manulife
  • Sunlife
  • Canadian Athlete Insurance Plan (CAIP)