In Canada, a certified athletic therapist (CAT(C)) is a health care practitioner skilled in 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.
A certified athletic therapist optimizes the ability of professional and amateur athletes, or any active individual to perform at their best through sport specific training, injury prevention and rehabilitation for rapid return to work or play. The same techniques used by a certified athletic therapist help him to treat effectively the musculoskeletal afflictions of Quebec’s active population.
There are three main areas of patient care and service that an Athletic Therapist may provide:
1-Treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries for a rapid return to activity;
2-Recognition, evaluation, and emergency care of acute, urgent injuries;
3-Prevention of musculoskeletal injury through conditioning and other techniques such as prophylactic support.
Quebec is home to nearly 300 certified athletic therapists. 25% have between 5 and 10 years of experience and 40% have been practicing in the field for more than 10 years. By definition, the latter are considered experts in their field, and makes Quebec a significant hub of expertise in the area.
Certified athletic therapists often bolster their studies with several additional certifications. 15% are trained in osteopathy, 10% in massage therapy and nearly 11% have their CSCS certification (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
In general, athletic therapists’ main stream of practice is concentrated in private-sector clinics (42%) and on sports teams (39.5%). Despite the various certifications held by several of our members, more than 63% of them use the title of athletic therapist.