In Canada, a Certified Athletic Therapist - CAT(C) is a health care practitioner devoted to the prevention, identification, intervention, management and treatment of emergency, acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and injuries to the physically active sustained either at work or through involvement in recreational or sporting activities.
An Athletic Therapist optimizes the ability of professional, amateur and recreational athletes to perform at their best through sport specific training, injury prevention and rehabilitation for rapid return to work or play. An Athletic Therapist also works in occupational and industrial settings to enhance the health and performance of individuals in the work force.
An Athletic therapist is trained to provide:
The role of an Athletic Therapist extends into three areas:
- Musculoskeletal, postural and ergonomic evaluations
- Orthopaedic treatment and rehabilitation services
- Warm up, rehabilitation and conditioning programs
- First responder emergency care
- Prophylactic or supportive taping techniques
- Assistance with sports protective equipment selection, fitting and repair
- Advice and educational information for prevention of injury
- An adaptability to suit the activity environment and facilities
- Prevention of injury
- Recognition, evaluation, and emergency care of injuries
- Treatment and rehabilitation musculoskeletal injuries for a rapid return to work and play
Working in a Clinical Environment
An Athletic Therapist will assess and treat musculoskeletal injuries through orthopaedic evaluation, therapeutic modalities, soft tissue release and mobilization, physical reconditioning through movement strategies and exercise as well as use prophylactic support techniques and educational information to prepare an individual for a safe reintegration into an active lifestyle and/or work environment.
Working in a Field Environment
Athletic Therapists are often the first health care providers on the scene when injury occurs during play and must be able to recognize and evaluate the injuries, provide immediate care, prepare the injured party for transport and consequently for return to "play".
The provision of on-field immediate care includes injury assessment and identification, activation of the emergency medical system, basic emergency life support, recognition and management of acute traumatic musculoskeletal and/or neurological dysfunction, first aid, preparation for entrance into appropriate health care delivery systems, and techniques to facilitate a safe return to participation.
As defined by La Corporation des thérapeutes du sport du Québec (CTSQ)