What is Physiotherapy?
Anchored in movement sciences and aims to enhance or restore function of multiple body systems. The profession is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life. This holistic approach incorporates a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids.
- An undergraduate degree, usually a 4-year Bachelor of Science in a field such as Kinesiology or Biology
- A Masters degree, which takes 2 years, and usually includes 20-30 weeks of clinical placement
Physiotherapists are often found in clinical settings such as hospitals, community clinics or in industrial settings. They are often covered by motor vehicle accident insurance and WSIB as well as workplace extended health benefits.
The expertise of a Physiotherapists, learned during their 3 semesters of course work, includes the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system, as well as neurological disorders. Some Physiotherapists will specialize in one area.
What about Sports Physio?
A physiotherapist plans, organizes the directs programmes of pre-season screening, first aid, rehabilitation, education and counselling for athletes, coaches and others concerned with sports. He/she may work directly with athletes or may undertake a consulting role for sports organizations.
- First Responder Certification ( 1 week emergency course)
- 200 hours of experience working with sport (contact and non contact)
- Written and practical exam
It does not require additional course work to become a Sports Physiotherapist; the certification depends upon learning in the field.
So What's the Difference?
According to the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association:
The Scope of Practice of a Certified Athletic Therapist includes the prevention, immediate care, and reconditioning of musculoskeletal injuries. Prevention includes musculoskeletal and postural evaluation, equipment selection, fitting and repair, warm-up, conditioning programs, prophylactic or supportive taping, and adapting to the activity environment and facilities
- Complete a program at one of 7 accredited institutions, which either consists of a 4-year bachelors degree, or a bachelors degree combined with a 1- or 2-year graduate certificate
- First Responder Certification (1 week course)
- 1200 hours of hands on experience (600 clinical and 600 field in contact and non contact sport)
- National Certification exam, consisting of a written exam and several practical stations to ensure adequate skill
So What Does That Mean?
An Athletic Therapist also learns great skills in recognition of emergency conditions, and return to sport taping protocols which are not included in the curriculum of most Physiotherapy programs.
If you are looking for onsite medical coverage for sporting events, or to recover from an athletic injury, then look for a Certified Athletic Therapist, or Athletic Therapy Certification Candidate!