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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.