An Athletic Therapist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. They work with individuals of all ages and abilities, from amateur and professional athletes to the general population. Athletic Therapists use a variety of techniques, including manual therapy, exercise prescription, and modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, to help their patients manage and recover from injuries, improve their physical function and performance, and reduce the risk of future injuries. They also provide education on injury prevention, injury management, and safe return to activity. Athletic Therapists are licensed healthcare professionals and may have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Athletic Therapy. They also have to pass a certification exam to become a Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT). They often work in a variety of settings such as sports teams, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and fitness facilities

Why chose PhysioDNA in Toronto?

At PhysioDNA Toronto, we are frequently asked, ‘What is a sports or athletic therapist?’ And even now there is confusion which, not only causes issues but in many occasions misunderstanding about the knowledge and capabilities that this specific occupational group possess.

For that reason for clarification – An Athletic Therapists (Toronto) is a healthcare professional who has the expertise, skill-sets and ability to:

– Make use of sports and exercise principles to optimise performance, preparation and injury prevention programs.

– Offer the immediate care of injuries and fundamental life support in a recreational, exercise & competitive environment.

– Assess, treat and, where needed, refer on for other specialist advice and treatment.

– Deliver appropriate sport and therapeutic massage in a sport & exercise context

– Plan and implement appropriate rehabilitation programs

The range of expertise that an Athletic Therapists must possess is developed within five key areas of expertise related to injury and illness in the sport and exercise environment.

These are:

  1. Prevention
  2. Recognition & evaluation
  3. Administration, treatment & referral
  4. Rehab
  5. Education & professional practice issues

Throughout each of these areas Athletic Therapists and specifically those at Graduate level, are trained and educated in basic principles that have sound practical and evidence-based philosophies with solid sport and physical exercise science foundations.

As such, Certified Athletic Therapists are required to satisfy precisely defined expertise levels which deal with the above areas and gives them the understanding, abilities and ability to work at all degrees of the sport and exercise continuum.

More importantly:

Athletic and Exercise Therapy is not just about Sports Massage. However, Athletic Therapists will possess massage skills that are an integral part of their scope of practice.

Athletic Therapists are not Physiotherapists, but Athletic Therapists will apply “physiotherapy” skills and practices, and often practice under a physiotherapy license.

Consequently, Athletic Therapists will apply many skills and techniques that are included within this list but in an athletic and exercise perspective more so than a conventional health care circumstance.

Athletic Therapists are not just first aiders. More importantly, they are first responders who have the education, expertise, skills and competence to provide immediate care in a first response role. Certified Athletic Therapists are also required to show evidence that they are up to date with these skills.

Allied to their Sport and Exercise science know-how, therapeutic abilities and understanding of the sport, Atheltic Therapists are capable and competent in applying the necessary rehab concepts, to allow their patients to reach the optimum levels of recovery, that their injury or disability will allow. As such, the journey from injury to a return to tasks can be facilitated by professionals who have the understanding, skill-sets and science-based principles to meet the needs of a clearly defined patient group. More significantly, Athletic Therapists are and should be, an indispensable part of the Sports Medicine family, complementing and strengthening the outstanding skills and knowledge also being provided by colleagues and other professions.

Athletic Therapy is a distinct occupational title that applies to a clearly defined scope of practice.

Athletic Therapists: A Strong Foundation is key

Our Registered Physiotherapists and Certified Athletic Therapists are specialized in sports therapy and athletic rehabilitation. Our therapists work with a variety of Sports teams in Toronto and the GTA.

We have worked with athletes of all ages and varying levels of competition. Our therapists have taken additional certifications and courses in Fascial Stretch Therapy, Active Release Therapy, Darby Training Techniques, Movement Assessments, Naturopathic Medicine/Dry Needling Techniques as well as others. Our treatment methods are supported by the most recent and highest quality research.

Some of the knee conditions we work with regularly with our Athletes are:

Our treatment approach is focussed on Performance, Wellness, Mobility, Balance & Proprioceptive training, Bracing, Compression, Modalities, Myofascial techniques and more.

A thorough Assessment is essential to highlight problem areas and understand the cause of injury.

Athletic Therapist for Children & Adolescents

Our Physiotherapists work with Athletes of all ages. We work with children as young as 6 years old to focus on Foundation and Sports Specific Training to prevent injury and enhance performance. We work hand in hand with parents and children to create a realistic treatment plan to best suit the individual needs and goals of you and your child.

Areas that we focus our Assessment on :

  • Posture
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle & Fascia Tightness
  • Mobility
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Home Exercises
  • Sports Specific Training
  • And Much More!

What does an athletic therapist do?

An Athletic Therapist is responsible for a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations
  • Developing and implementing individualized treatment plans to help patients recover from injuries and improve their physical function
  • Providing manual therapy, such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation, to help alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and increase strength and flexibility
  • Prescribing and supervising exercises and rehabilitation programs, including sport-specific training, to help patients regain their strength, endurance, and mobility
  • Administering modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation to help reduce inflammation and pain
  • Providing education and advice on injury prevention, injury management, and safe return to activity
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, physiotherapists, and chiropractors, to provide the best possible care for their patients
  • Keeping accurate records of patients’ progress and updating treatment plans as needed
  • Communicating with patients, families, coaches, and other healthcare professionals to ensure continuity of care.

Athletic therapists work with clients of all ages and abilities, from amateur and professional athletes to the general population, and they may work in a variety of settings such as sports teams, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and fitness facilities.

What is the difference between an athletic therapists and a physiotherapist?

Athletic Therapists and Physiotherapists are both healthcare professionals who specialize in the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. However, there are some key differences between the two professions:

  • Education and Training: Athletic Therapists typically have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Athletic Therapy, while Physiotherapists typically have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Physiotherapy.
  • Scope of Practice: Athletic Therapists typically have a more sport-specific focus and have a more in-depth knowledge of sports injuries, sport-specific rehabilitation, and injury prevention. Physiotherapists, on the other hand, have a broader scope of practice, and they may work with a wider range of patients, including those with neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular conditions.
  • Treatment Approaches: Athletic Therapists and Physiotherapists both use a variety of techniques to help their patients recover from injuries and improve their physical function, but the specific techniques and treatments may differ. For example, Athletic Therapists may use more sports-specific training and modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, while Physiotherapists may use more manual therapy and modalities such as traction and hydrotherapy.

Both Athletic Therapists and Physiotherapists are licensed healthcare professionals, and they often work closely together to provide the best possible care for their patients. Both professions have a strong focus on patient-centred care and work with clients to improve their overall health, fitness and well-being.

Is athletic therapy the same as kinesiology?

Athletic therapy and kinesiology are related fields, but they are not the same.

Athletic therapy is a healthcare profession that specializes in the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, with a focus on sport-specific injuries and rehabilitation. Athletic therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Athletic Therapy.

Kinesiology, on the other hand, is the study of human movement and physical activity. Kinesiologists typically have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Kinesiology and may specialize in areas such as exercise physiology, sport science, biomechanics, motor control, or ergonomics. Kinesiologists may work in a variety of settings such as research, education, sport performance, rehabilitation, and health promotion.

Athletic therapists may use principles of kinesiology in their practice, such as understanding the mechanics of movement and how it relates to injury and rehabilitation. Additionally, some kinesiologists may work with athletes and sports teams to optimize performance, but their main focus is research and education rather than direct patient care and rehabilitation.


In conclusion, PhysioDNA is a leading provider of physiotherapy services in Toronto and Oakville. We specialize in addressing posture, muscle weakness, stiffness, muscle and fascia tightness, mobility, and sports-specific training. Our team of experienced physiotherapists and certified trainers are dedicated to helping our patients achieve optimal health and wellness through personalized exercise prescription and home exercises. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or looking to improve your athletic performance, PhysioDNA has the expertise and resources to help you reach your goals. We are committed to providing the highest quality of care and personalized attention to help our patients achieve optimal health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards improving your posture, mobility, and overall health.

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