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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Risk Management the Coach's Responsibility

Many coaches find it difficult to come up with a complete risk management plan for their team.  For some it may be that they don't understand the importance of one or not feel it is their responsibility, for others it is not knowing where to start or what all comprises of a complete plan.  As a coach you are the decision maker for your team, you need to make safety and risk management a priority as it can be the difference between success and failure or life and death. 

Risk management is an ongoing process that must begin prior to the season beginning and does not end until after the season is over. 

So what all does a coach need to do? We will discuss the basics of a risk management program for sport teams. 

Emergency Action Plan (EAP) - the EAP is designed to make sure all the proper steps are taken when an injury occurs and that specific people have a designated roles/jobs so that all are prepared.  Basic EAPs consist of 3 roles, the charge person who is attending to the injured athlete, the call person who contacts EMS and the control person who maintains order among the crowd, opposing team and liaises with the facility.  

Have First Aid and CPR - it is all great that you have an EAP but if you don't have basic injury management skills such as first aid and CPR, what are you going to do if something occurs?  You can not rely on always having a trainer, athletic therapist on your staff or that each year you will have parents who are doctors, nurses or paramedics.  These are added bonuses not sure things.  

Take an Injury Management Seminar - First aid and CPR only get you so far in the world of sports.  You need to understand the types of injuries that will occur in sports and how to apply the knowledge you gained in first aid and CPR to those situations.  A good seminar will not only discuss sports injuries but go in-depth on risk management, injury prevention and return to activity. 

Carry a First Aid Kit - each team should carry an individualized first aid kit for their sport and the knowledge of those who will be using it.  Sports require more than just few pieces of gauze and band-aids but unless you are trained to do so you don't need a stitch kit. 

Do Risk Assessments - at practices and games.  Know what the areas of risk are in your sport and at each facility you are at.  By doing so you can implement prevention strategies and be more prepared for situations that are specific to each activity. 

By no means is this a complete list of everything that comprises a risk management program.  After each practice, game or competition you will tweek your plan based on what occurred.  Rely on past experiences as well to help form your full plan.  Risk management is about creating a safe environment for your athletes, your staff as well as the other team and spectators.  Though when you first start working on your plan it is a lot of work, the benefits pay off throughout the seasons.  When injuries do occur, because you were prepared they will take less energy and focus at that time than if you did not have an effective risk management plan. 

For more information on risk management, EAPs and the coaches role please visit our website at  and follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

What Came First the Athlete or the Injury?

The question of whether there is more sport related injuries in youth sports begs is similar to the which came first the chicken or the egg, or is the rooster crowing more?

Though in recent years there has been some decrease in sport participation for adolescents, overall 75% of children aged 5-17 participate in some form (Sports Participation 2010).  All sports bring with them a risk of injury, younger athletes tend to suffer traumatic injuries while those over the age of 13 tend to suffer more chronic overuse type injuries, (Pediatric Sports Injuries An Age Comparison of Children Versus Adolescents)

So what really came first?  Are there more young athletes or are the young athletes getting injured more?  If there are more athletes participating then it would be logical to assume that there would be more injuries.  However statistics do show that there has been a decrease in participation in certain sports, yet sports that did not exist in 90's are very popular today.  

However, the way sports are played has changed.  Many things that would be considered activities are now organized sports, ie. Ultimate Frisbee.  Sports are seen as a means to an end, school scholarships and professional contracts are the ultimate goal for many parents and athletes.  Due to this athletes are pushing and being pushed at a younger age.  Sport specialization and the formalization of youth sports has these young athletes performing more often and at higher intensities.  

One of the major changes in sport is the culture.  The "old school" thought was that if it wasn't broke you played.  Former athletes were taught to tape an Aspirin to it and keep playing, that playing through injuries no matter how severe was what made you strong.  Athletes are now taught to let their coaches, parents, teachers and athletic therapists know if they are injured.  This point alone could attest for the rise in injuries.  It may not be there is more occurring, it is just that there are more being reported.  

No matter the reasoning for the increase in sports injuries, they are occurring at a greater rate.  As a parent, coach, teacher, athletic therapist/trainer, and athletes we need to focus on injury prevention and proper management.  There needs to be a greater focus on player safety and overall wellness.  For our young athletes to truly get the best experience in sport, they need to be able to participate without fear of injury. 

For more information follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and our website at 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Preparing for the Upcoming Season as an Athlete

As an athlete there are many things that come up as your season starts.  For many of you school starts at the same time as your sport, adding more pressure and time commitments.  

There are a few things that you must do to prepare yourself for the year.  Some of the aspects that are part of this is being physically prepared to participate and participating because you want to. 

Eat well.  Your mind and your body can not function properly if it is not being given the appropriate fuel. As much as a bag of chips and a pop seem like a good idea for lunch.  By the time you finish school, practice and studying you will not be doing so at full capacity.  Depending on your schedule and activity level, the amount and number of times you will eat will vary.  What is important is to make sure you are eating whole food, and drinking lots of water.  The less you let your energy levels fluctuate, the more consistent your performance at school and sport will be. 

Have a schedule.  Know when your practices are, when your games/competitions are and when your assignments and tests are.  If you know there is going to be a conflict, talk to your teachers ahead of time, this way you are both prepared for the situation. 

Find a buddy. It can be a team mate, class mate, sibling, friend, coach or teacher.  There is going to come  time where you may feel overwhelmed or not sure of how to handle a situation.  Use this buddy to talk to.  Sometimes just talking to someone can make the world of difference.  Knowing that someone else is going through the same thing as you or maybe them not being directly involved will give them a different perspective.  Never feel like you have to make it through anything alone. 

Take time for yourself.  Outside of school and sport, do something else.  Go to a movie with your friends, spend time with your family outside of driving to a practice or game.  By being involved in other things you will avoid mental burnout, what you must remember is not to over schedule your life.  Down time and rest are extremely important. 

The final thing to do for the season and during is to have fun. Nothing else matters.

To find out more of our athlete services please visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Preparing for the Upcoming Season as a Parent

Well the September long weekend is over, kids are back at school and the fall/winter activities are starting up.  As a parent you are getting the year schedule and are soon finding your calendar is full.  Before you reach for the bottle of wine, take a deep breath, you will get through this.  The following will help you get through this season hopefully injury free, but if an injury does occur with your young athlete, you will be prepared for it. 

Write down the schedule, not just this months, but the whole year.  Put it in a master calendar with everything on it.  Important school dates, holidays, practices, games, tournaments and competitions.  Again before you scream there is a reason for this.  Do you notice any trends?  Are there days off?  If you your child is in multiple activities are there any conflicts?  Is there conflicts between each child's schedule?  By noticing any conflicts now, you have the time to manage them now, instead of last minute.  The stress that you express when something happens is felt by your children and can distract them their task at hand.  Back to days off.  Rest is important, very important.  Both physical and mental fatigue lead to injuries or burnout.  For more on fatigue in athletes go here.  

Proper meal planning is also very important.  Being prepared with lots of meals in the freezer that can be easily thrown into the oven or slow cooker will save you time and the dread of heading through the drive thru.  A supply of healthy snacks in the car can get you through those school to sport moments.  

Being prepared for injuries is like having insurance, you hope you don't need to use it but are glad you have it if something does happen.  Knowing basic injury management principles will help you not only with your child's injuries but are also a good life skill to have.  It is also important to have a health care professional that you trust in case your child does suffer an injury, that way your not searching after the fact.  If the sport your child is involved in is prone to concussions, have baseline evaluations done by a qualified health care professional.  

Asking your child's coach, teacher or instructor as to their qualifications and preparedness for injury situations.  Do they have first aid and CPR?  Have taken an injury management seminar or course?  Do they have an EAP and a risk management plan?  What is their policy on return to activity after injury?  These are all questions you need to ask them.  Most of the time they will be the one responding to your child's injury, not you.  You want to make sure they are prepared for the situation and that there will be no confusion after the fact as to return to activity. 
The final thing that you must remember to do for the season is to have fun. 

For more information on our injury management seminars and other services offered check out our website at  Please follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Preparing for the Upcoming Season as a Coach

Many sports are beginning to start preparations for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.  Depending on your role in sports be it coach, athletes, or parent how you prepare for the season will differ.  In a three part series we will discuss some of the keys to preparing for the season so that everyone can find success. 

For many coaches there is no off season or down time. Once the season ends they are going over how to improve for next year.  By half way through they are ordering supplies, uniforms and planning their practice and game schedule.  All of this may seem very easy and very routine after a couple of years of coaching, but complacency can be one of the greatest threats to safety. 

When ordering supplies it is important to take into account any changes in equipment policy and regulation.  Equipment manufacturers are great for making something new and improved, however does that new and improved model meet your league and governing body regulations?  Are the new improvements actually for the better or will they cause more harm to your athletes?  Did they remove padding to make the item lighter, leaving your athletes more prone to injury?  These are some of the questions that need to be asked to either your equipment manager or equipment representative.
Another aspect of ordering supplies is restocking your first aid and medical kit.  Replacing all used and expired items.  Keeping your first aid kit up to date with appropriate supplies to your sport and personal qualifications, is a major step in your risk management program.  

Scheduling practices and games is very time consuming and at times very frustrating.  Keeping a good practice to game ratio is very important to avoid physical and mental development and to promote proper skill acquisition.  A minimum ratio of 2:1 would be nice.  For those coaching/teaching sports that do not involve games, keeping the number of hours of practice down is equally as important.  Look at the schedule from a monthly and yearly perspective as this will give you a better indication of what is actually going on, not just a week to week basis.  

As a coach/instructor preparing your athletes for all aspects of life, not just the given sport is the greatest task you will be given.  Mike Babcock has said it is a "great opportunity to make a difference", he is truly right.  You may not realize that not matter the age, you will be an influence on your athletes.  Being prepared to instil life skills and educate them on basics other than sports skills and tactics, will help you create better all round athletes, both on the playing surface and in life.  

I have met many coaches who feel they need to be an expert at everything and be able to do it all.  As the coach you are the captain of the ship.  You need to ensure you have everything taken care of to guide your ship straight.  Being prepared before the season starts will set you on the right course, but no matter what you will face some turbulent seas and need to adjust course.  Having a group of experts to help you right the course will set you apart from the rest. 

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our services at 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Beating the Heat the Safe Way

Even though back to school sales are starting in the stores, we still have at least a month of hot weather ahead of us.  Exercising and playing sports outside is a right of passage for many of us during the summer.  However there are some key points everyone needs to know to help prevent heat related illness.  

When planning an activity outside, try to plan it before 11 am and after 4 pm as the suns UV rays are at the highest at this time.  Drink 2-4 glasses of water every hour that you are outside.  Hydrate prior to and after any activity outside.  Even the what may seem like a simple activity can cause heat illness.  Take frequent breaks, if unable to go inside, find a shady, cool area to do so.  The type of clothing is important as well.  Wearing a wide brimmed hat and light weight and light coloured clothing is recommended.  A minimum of SPF 15 sunscreen is recommended and needs to be reapplied regularly especially if you are sweating or in the water.  

Part of prevention is also knowing the signs and symptoms of heat illness, so that if your or someone around you starts to experience any, you can act swiftly and safely.  

The most mild form of heat illness are heat cramps, which are brought on by exertion in heat.  They are characterized by pain and muscle contraction that continues even after exercise.  Treatment consists of rehydration with a sodium based liquid and gentle stretching.  

Heat exhaustion is a moderate heat illness.  Signs and symptoms include loss of coordination, dizziness, possible fainting, profuse sweating and pale skin, headache, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and persistent muscle cramping.  Removal from activity immediately and being taken to a shady place and rehydration with water.  

Heat stroke is a severe and serious medical situation,  Core body temperature of greater than 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Altered conciousness including confusion, irritability, and decreased mental acuity.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and weakness are also present.  Increased heart rate, dehydration, and decreased blood pressure are some of the more extreme symptoms.  It is imperative to deal with anyone exhibiting these symptoms quickly.  The whole body should be cooled immediately, transport to an emergency room should be done quickly and under the guidance of trained personnel such as EMS.

Heat illness needs to be taken very seriously as the consequences of miss handling can be tragic.  Heat acclimation is important, gradually build up your tolerance to heat and humidity.  Young children and seniors are more prone to suffer heat illness, these populations should be closely monitored for the signs of heat illness.  

Have fun and enjoy your summer safely.

For more information on health and safety follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt 

Sources used for this article. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Athletic Therapist Spotlight - Kim Schneider

Here is our final spotlight for National Athletic Therapy Month. 

Name: Kim Schneider 

Job: Athletic Therapist with The Edmonton Wildcats Football Club and Mentor Therapist for the Sherwood Park Kings Athletic Club (hockey)

Education Background: I have a Bachelor of Physical Education with a specialization in Sports Performance from the University of Alberta as well as an Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal College.

What is a typical day for you:  A typical practice day with the Wildcats consists of arriving at the clubhouse 1.5 hours before practice starts to get everyone prepared and taped up. We are there for 30-45 min after practice to assess anything that may have happened at practice. On game day, we get to the field 2.5 hours before the game as we need to have everyone ready and taped up in time for warm ups. We are usually there for 45 min after a game to assess any new injuries or have our team doctor assess injuries that do not seem to be responding to our treatments. For hockey, I will typically get to the rink 1-1.5 hours prior to the game to prep the athletes and to prepare the bench with water bottles, towels, etc. I am basically the equipment manager too! For both sports, game day is a 5-6 hour commitment. 

Favourite part of job: My favourite part of the job is seeing my athletes eyes light up and the smile that comes across their face when I tell them that they are able to play again after an injury. I also enjoy the camaraderie of being a part of a team. 

Why did you become an AT: I became an AT because I like helping people and I love sports. I put the two together and found a fantastic job!

Highlight of Career: The highlight of my career thus far would have to be winning the 2013 Western Canadian Challenge Cup with the U16 boys Team Alberta Hockey as the Head Athletic Therapist. Representing our province is a privilege that not everyone gets to do and to do that while bringing home the gold was an experience that I will never forget!

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website Elite Injury Management 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Athletic Therapist Spotlight - Nicole Lemke

Name: Nicole Lemke

Job: Athletic Therapist for Football Alberta

Education background: Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta, Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal College and a Master of Science from the University of Alberta.  

What is your typical day: My typical day on the road with Football Alberta's U18 provincial team involves per-practice preparations, sideline coverage in the event of an injury and treatment time in a host clinic.  

What is your favourite part of your job: The favorite part of my job is always game day.  Being part of the team and sharing in their pre-game anxieties and post-game reactions.  

Why did you become an AT: I became an AT because I enjoy sports.  I was an active high school athlete and this gave me a great opportunity to stay involved in sport.  

What is the highlight of your career: Football Alberta takes a team to Maui, Hawaii each summer.  I have gone 8 times! It's a beautiful location and there's a lot to be said for working on a sideline that overlooks the ocean. 

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website  

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Athletic Therapist Spotlight - Andrea Hanssen

This weeks Athletic Therapist spotlight is on Andrea Hanssen. 

Name: Andrea Hanssen

Job: Owner of Activa Sports Therapy Athletic therapist & Red Cross First Aid Instructor. 

Education Background:  Bachelors of Physical education from the University of Alberta & Mount Royal University Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy 

What is a typical day for you: During the school year I provide Athletic therapy services at a local high school and everyday can be very different.  The days go by fast doing assessments  and treatments for the students and staff,mostly the athletes that pick up injuries in football, Rugby or other school sports or activities. Other tasks that keep me busy are supervising and providing guidance in the fitness centre and assisting teachers as guest instructor of subjects such as first aid, athletic injury management, taping, nutrition and other topics.  Outside of the school you will most likely find me on the soccer pitch taking care of a variety of different levels from youth to professionals. 

Favorite part of job: Travelling is one of my passions and often times that is  a part of the job.  I have been fortunate that Athletic Therapy has taken me all over Canada, USA, Sweden, England, France and Spain. 

Why did you become an AT: I love sports and couldn't imagine doing anything else. I am happiest around a field or court, either on it playing or helping those that are. 

Highlight of Career:  There are so many great events to choose from, but one memorable moment that will always stick out in my mind is quite comical.  Dwayne Laing and I received a Red Card from the Ref (as Therapists) during a professional soccer game while on the field assisting an injured player. Apparently the he had not waved us on, however the fourth official did signal us to enter the field.  We had to leave the game. 

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and our website at 

Friday, 20 June 2014

SCORE - Saving & Creating Better Athletes

Today is the official launch of our SCORE - Saving and Creating Better Athletes - program.   This program has been designed to give all school athletes tools to help them succeed in all areas of their lives.  The goal of the SCORE program is to create athletes who are not only better prepared to participate in sport and excel but also create athletes who are able to reduce the risk of injury and deal with injury and emergency situations if they do occur.

The SCORE program consists of the following. 

First Aid & CPR Certification 
In the case of any emergency having someone present who is able to perform CPR and       administer life saving first aid can be the difference between life and death.  Having these skills is not only applicable to those in sport but is a great life skill.  Student athletes will be certified in CPR, AED and First Aid.

Injury Recognition 
The importance of having first aid and CPR is great, however without the knowledge of how to recognize common sports injuries those skills are not useful.  We offer numerous injury recognition seminars including concussion recognition. musculoskeletal injuries, anaphylactic    reactions, spinal injuries, heat illness and medical episodes such as cardiac arrest, diabetes, and asthma.  

Sport Taping & Strapping
If you want to learn unique and practical taping techniques for most common sports injuries.  Participants learn proper taping procedures, when to tape and when not to, taping versus bracing, as well as have the opportunity to practice different taping techniques for all parts of the body.

Education Seminars 
Seminars will increase athletes awareness of health and safety topics. Participants will gain knowledge on how to perform at peak levels as well as knowledge to use in everyday life.  Topics include nutrition, injury prevention, drugs in sport and mental training skills such as goal setting.

Student Trainer Course
For those students who wish to expand their knowledge of sports medicine or who are wanting to pursue a career in sports medicine this is the place to start.  This course is comprised of three parts: First Aid and CPR certification, Sport Taping and Strapping and our Managing Injuries—A Trainer’s  Responsibility.

 By creating an athlete that not only has the skills to compete on the playing field or gym, but who now has the knowledge as to how injury prevention and management plays a role in athletic success.  The SCORE program truly makes athletes - student athletes as it gives direct education applicable to sport that they can carry over into every day life.

Please follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Athletic Therapist Spotlight - Carrie Mussbacher

In our second National Athletic Therapy Month spotlight we feature Carrie Mussbacher. 

Name: Carrie Mussbacher

Job: Athletic Therapist, Fitness Centre Coordinator & Personal Trainer

Education Background: I completed my Bachelors of Physical Education at the U of A, and while there I became a Certified Personal Trainer through Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). Then I completed Advanced Certificate Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University which prepared me for becoming a Certified Athletic Therapist with CATA.

What is a typical day for you: A typical day will involve supervising the fitness centre at Strathcona High Schoool, helping with Phys Ed or Sports Performance classes who use the facility. I will do a few clinical assessments every day, as well as injury treatment/rehabilitation sessions. I am on call for any injuries occurring in the school (sports teams, phys ed classes or sports performance classes mostly). Depending on the season, I provide on-field coverage for rugby and football games and any tournaments that we host. At the end of the day I often have one personal training session/group fitness class outside of my work at the school.

Favorite part of job: I love being apart of competitive sports, the adrenaline rush you get when you run onto the sports field to help an athlete, and the feeling you get when your injured athletes return to sport and are able to compete again after sustaining an injury. I love being challenged daily, and that no two days will ever be the same!

Why did you become an AT: I was once told as an athlete myself that I would have to quit sport in the middle of the season if I wanted my shoulder to get better. I wasn't given any other options. I don't want to put individuals in that position if they don't have to be. I want to promote the idea of returning to sport/activity in a healthy way. You don't have to play in pain but you also don't have to quit. There are options for every individual. 

Highlight of Career: 
-Winning 2006 CIS National Championship with U of A Bears Soccer
-Working with the Edmonton Rush Lacrosse Team (2011-12 & 2012-13 seasons

For more information on Athletic Therapy and Certified Athletic Therapists please visit or

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website at 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Ask the Therapist

We have joined YEG Fitness for their Ask the Therapist article. Here are our two most recent questions posed by readers and our answer.  

How important is stretching before exercising?
Stretching prior to training or exercise is important. What needs to be clarified is what type of stretching. Typically we see people doing static stretching both prior to and after training. Static stretching has a role but should be used at the end of a session as part of the cool down to increase flexibility. Prior to training incorporate dynamic stretching as part of your warm up. Dynamic stretching is controlled motion through the complete range. Do movements that mimic activities in your sport or training session. For more information check out our blog post Dynamic Stretching in Warm Up

What is the general time for Hamstring strain take to heal?
The average time for a hamstring strain to heal depends upon a five factors. Firstly the grade of the injury. Muscle strains are categorized into 3 grades. A grade 1 strain where there is not disability to a grade 3 which is a complete rupture, a grade 2 falls between these. Grade 1 strains typically resolve in around 1 week, grade 2 take 2-4 weeks and grade 3 beyond that. The second factor is if there is a prior hamstring strain. There is evidence showing that hamstring strains are a recurrent injury. Thirdly, the state of the body when the injury happened, fatigue and muscle imbalance can prolong the healing process. Fourth, the sport in which you participate. Any sport that involves running especially sprinting will take longer to get back to full competition. Finally, proper injury management. During the acute stage the principles of rest and ice are very important, followed by proper rehabilitation to increase range of motion, strength and functionality.

If you have a question about injury prevention, injury management or sport safety please email us at 

Follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website at 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Athletic Therapist Spotlight - Chris Kucher

Throughout June we will be highlighting a local Athletic Therapist for National Athletic Therapy Month. Today we highlight Chris Kucher Certified Athletic Therapist and Owner of North Star Athletic Therapy 

 Name: Chris Kucher

Job: Athletic Therapist

Education Background: University of Alberta BPE, Mount Royal University Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy

What is a typical day for you: Depending on where I am it can be anything! Field events I am there early to ensure that all athletes are prepared as best they can be, whether it is pre-game taping, running a warm up, or a quick assessment and treatment. During performance I follow the action making sure that I can see any potential injuries, or am quick to respond to any on field emergency. Post-performance client care is the name of the game, assessments treatments and possibly referrals for all those in need. Clinical days are again all about the client without the distractions of on field care. Prior to the patient I ensure that my space is clean and tidy ready for the first patient. When he or she arrives the care starts and whether it is an assessment for a new injury, or an update to an existing treatment plan the patient is number one priority. Afterwards, a quick clean up and charting all the important information from the day's appointments.

Favourite part of job: Listening to past patients pass on the some of the information I had taught them. "Athlete 1: Wow you land really loud... Athlete 2: what do you mean? Athlete 1: I used to be like that too. You have to learn to land quieter, it shows you're in control and then you won't get hurt"

Why did you become an AT: The challenge of assessment, and the stress of emergencies. Every body is different, and while two people have the "same injury" they might need different strategies to rehabilitate back to performance levels. While on field situations stress a different aspect of the system, every time you watch an on field emergency you don't know what you'll encounter when you reach the athlete, so staying alert and current is a must!

Highlight of Career: Clinically- Opening our clinic space. Which gives me an opportunity to reach more people; and the greater the reach the greater the help! Field- On mat Athletic Therapist at the World Women's Wrestling Championships 2013.

For more information on Athletic Therapy please go to Canadian Athletic Therapist Association.

Please follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website at

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Lightning Safety in Sport

With warm weather comes, thunderstorms and of course lightning.  We all enjoy spending time outside either participating or watching outdoor activities and sports.  Many times when a storm approaches we all fail to proceed safely.  Many assume that only sports that involve metal implements, ie. golf, softball and some track events, need to have lightning safety policies.  In Canada there are an average of 10 deaths per year from lightning strikes and around 164 injuries. Most occur between June and August with a whopping 94% of deaths and 74% of injuries occurring this time. Those aged between 16 and 45 and male are the most prone to suffer a lightning related death or injury.  The activities that are most common are camping/hiking and work, golf and baseball rank third and fourth.  

We can not prevent thunderstorms from occurring, so to prevent lightning related injuries we must have a thorough lightning emergency action plan.  
1) Have a designated person who is responsible for suspending play. 
2) Have a designated weather watcher, who's job is to watch for incoming weather systems.
3) Have pre set safe zones for each venue in case severe weather does occur. 
4) Have a set of criteria as to when it is safe to resume activity. 

When deciding when to suspend play paying attention to the incoming weather is key.  As soon as there is a approximately 9.25 km from the edge of the storm and the area of activity, if you can hear thunder then there is lightning near by.  You must allow for everyone involved to be able to reach the safe area prior to the storm hitting.  The safe area must be indoors, places like shelters and picnic canopies are not sufficient.  When it is time to resume your activity the standard rule is 30 minutes after the last lightning strike and sound of thunder is heard.  

Having a well thought out EAP for lightning is important for all outdoor activities.  Being prepared to suspend play and stick by your actions is beneficial to all.  As with all safety initiatives lightning safety needs full team buy in to be successful.  Be proactive and set out your plan, do not rely on the officials or other team to make the call.  Research within your league as to who's responsibility it is to suspend play and if there is already a lightning policy in place.  Though lightning strikes are not as common as other injuries the damages from them are much more devastating and tragic.  

For more information on lighting safety in sports check out the NATA Position Statement on Lightning Safety for Athletics and Recreation and for general lightning information in Canada go to Environment Canada - Lightning Safety.

Please follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website at 

Monday, 2 June 2014

June is National Athletic Therapy Month

June is National Athletic Therapy Month, please see the press release from Sandy Jespersen, Executive Director of the Canadian Athletic Therapy Association (CATA)

National Athletic Therapy Month reminds us that we’re all athletes

While we usually think of sports when we talk about athletic activity, most Canadians engage in some form of physical activity every day. Whether it’s lifting an infant into a highchair, running for the bus, or bending to reach a fallen sock behind the dryer, we move and exert our bodies constantly. And sometimes we feel the pain from those movements.

That’s the idea behind National Athletic Therapy Month this June: an annual reminder that everyone can benefit from the expertise of Canada’s Certified Athletic Therapists. By declaring, “We are all athletes”, the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) hopes to educate Canadians who have sustained an injury to their muscles, bones, or joints that a Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT(C)) can help get them back to work and play.

 “While we’re primarily known for our role in helping athletes recover from injury faster and achieve peak performance, our skills can be used to help anyone with an injury,” said Richard DeMont, President of CATA. “Whether you’re a weekend golfer an avid gardener, or a busy soccer mom, moving without pain or discomfort is an important part of our overall health and well being.”

 Being able to translate the knowledge gained from years of treating elite athletes at the highest levels of competitive and professional sports into the needs of all Canadians makes the role of a Certified Athletic Therapist very valuable for injury recovery. 

 "For professional and elite athletes, the sporting arena is their workplace, and we treat workplace injuries,” said DeMont. “Whether that workplace is a playing field or an office tower makes no difference; we help get people back into their game.”

 From injury prevention to emergency care to rehabilitation, Certified Athletic Therapists are committed to assisting all of life’s athletes. 

For more information on Athletic Therapy or National Athletic Therapy month go to or

We will be featuring local Edmonton area Athletic Therapists throughout the month to help you get to know your local ATs a little better.

Please follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website at for more information on Athletic Therapy and the services we offer. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Why Proper Injury Management is Important

I recently treated a young dancer who hurt her leg at school.  The story of how she hurt her leg and her subsequent recovery is a perfect example as to why safety recognition and proper injury management is key. 

Now her mechanism of injury is somewhat amusing but totally preventable.  While at school she slipped on a pencil and awkwardly caught her balance.  She was unable to extend her leg fully and was walking around on her tippy toes when I saw her.  She complained of pain in her upper calf.  She had no swelling or deformity.  Her hamstring and calf were in spasm which was causing her pain.  I sent her home with instructions to RICE (rest, ice, compress & elevate).  This is where the story turns ugly.  She went to school the next day feeling better, that was until she was not allowed to ice during recesses and lunch.  When her mother arrived home, her ankle was swollen, bruised and sore.  She was in so much pain, you could not touch her leg without her crying.  Click here to see her ankle.  After one day of ice, elevation and rest the swelling had gone down and by day five full range of motion had returned and she is back to dance.
Her injury was totally preventable, making sure that things are not left on the floor and encouraging kids to be aware of their surroundings.  However, kids will be kids and that can't always happen.  What could have happened is the proper management post injury.  As was seen by her recovery once the RICE principle was initiated, if this had been done the day after injury then the swelling, pain and bruising would not have been so severe. 

Basic injury management principles are just that basic and simple.  The RICE principle has been around for many years and does not require much advanced knowledge of injury management.  Correct management obviously creates a more ideal situation for healing, which is in the best interest for everyone.  A similar situation is a friend of mine who hurt her knee during soccer.  Her husband told her to heat it that night.  These two situations show the importance of more education on basic injury management.  

As health professionals we may feel that everyone knows how to deal with acute injuries, but everyday athletes both young and old are getting improper advice which in turn prolongs their injury and taking them away from being active and achieving success. 

For more information on injury prevention and management follow us on Twitter @EliteInjuryMgmt and check out our website