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September, 2017

OATA Summer 2017 Report

Ontario was pleased to host the CATA Conference held at the amazing destination, Niagara Falls. OATA had its new 10 x 10 ft display ready to welcome all to the convention. We were thrilled to see that without any collaboration, both CATA and OATA had picked the metaphor of crossing a finish line to highlight the AT role in delivering health care for the daily pursuit of athletic lifestyles. Talk about validation!!

The OATA decided to fold its own annual conference into the CATA event holding our AGM and first Town Hall following CATA’s and having our Founder’s Award (Dr. Jamie Laws, 2017) be presented at the CATA Gatorade Award ceremony. It all worked out well.

We at the OATA believe the high (record) attendance numbers for this year’s CATA conference was due in large part to our concerted push to increase attendance from those members in GTA and across-the-province. It was wonderful to listen to OATA seasoned practitioners and educators deliver compelling sessions. Ann Hartley appeared to scare everyone with the growing threat of Lyme’s disease in Ontario and Canada and then made us go cross-eyed with visual assessment tests. Laura Leslie challenged us by showing WWE wrestling moves to assess Positional Vertigo.

The presentations served to again remind us that the roles of Athletic Therapists are diverse, challenging and at the same time rewarding. Seeing the possible roles Athletic Therapists can play, such as helping a person that was homeless and in the depths of personal despair to become the World Champion in Ultra-marathon in a very short time reminds all Athletic Therapists that we are a vital cog in the healthcare machinery of Canadians across Canada.

From an Ontario perspective, we were able to introduce to the Presidents of the Provincial Chapters a new partnership with mdBriefCase –  the number one online provider of continuing education and certificate level courses – that resulted in production of a concussion management e-learning program delivered mostly to family physicians featuring AT concussion expertise. It was something of a coup for the OATA to be included within the mdBriefCase umbrella of courses. This online 4-hour course targeting family physicians is accredited by the Canadian College of Family Physicians. OATA created the content and filmed both Clinical and On-field assessment scenarios. This online interprofessional program features a custom AT module outlining specific competencies related to Athletic Therapists. Be sure to check it out!!

This program is a great recognition of our unique skill set and documents those skills, but more importantly, our module will be presented to every doctor in Canada that takes the course. mdBriefCase created a special code MCONoata125 that will, first let Athletic Therapists take the course for a reduced rate of $125 down from the regular rate of $199, but more importantly, it introduces the course to a network of referring physicians so that they can take an accredited program for the reduced rate as well and they will receive 4.5 continuing education credits. CATA members will also receive CEUs (1.8) as the course has been approved by the CATA Education committee. Please visit

Our second big venture has been the release of the new CISM – Critical Incident Stress Management – peer support system for Athletic Therapists in Ontario; it is called AT-911. There is recognition that we as first responders are subjected, at times, to some harrowing scenarios that can expose Athletic Therapists to stressful situations that can have profound effects on the therapists exposed to these incidents.

AT-911 is an evolution of our Peer Support Committee we started 3 years ago. Frances Flint had been mandated to take several Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) courses so that we have evidence-based information to offer our members in the event of a near death, death, or severe injury incident. Our cousins in the United States are about to roll out their own version of this same service.

We are seeking volunteers in all 6 of the districts within Ontario to be trained in this critical skill to be able to offer support to fellow AT’s in their immediate areas. A huge thank you to Frances for taking our original program and evolving it to a new level of competency.

For those OATA members not at the CATA awards banquet, Jamie Laws was awarded the OATA Founders award for 2017. His role in the growth of Athletic Therapy in Canada and in Ontario was truly visionary. The growth of the OATA could not happen without founders such as Dr. Laws laying down the foundation for the profession of Athletic Therapy in Ontario.

The OATA Board and membership are very proud of the new CATA Hall of Fame inductees from Ontario, Joe Kenny, Cindy Hughes and Wendy Hampson. Their leadership over the years has been instrumental in the growth of Athletic Therapy in Ontario. While Cindy and Wendy are retiring, we are sure that they will continue to be gleaming lights for Athletic Therapy in their new direction in life. Joe will continue at Brock as the cornerstone of Athletic Therapy in the Niagara/St. Catherine’s area. We also wish bonne chance to Lynn Bookalam on her retirement from McGill after 35 years of tireless service.

I would be remiss, if I did not thank the CATA once again for the opportunity to move many our AGM day activities to the Conference so that OATA members could maximize their CEUs as well as not force our members to choose between spending their hard-earned dollars at an OATA event or the CATA Conference. This also allowed the OATA and CATA to have some very necessary discussions on the visions of both bodies and how they fit best together. CATA has always been supportive of our efforts towards Regulation in Ontario but face-to-face meetings help cover any outstanding concerns that are often difficult to present in an email format discussion/presentation.

I hope that everyone has a great summer, check your pets, children and maybe even your spouse/significant other for ticks. Remember that the Profession of Athletic Therapy can only grow if members volunteer for both their provincial or national bodies and get involved. Much work has been done, but much more needs to be accomplished!!


Drew Laskoski R. Kin., Athletic Therapist, CAT(C)
Ontario Athletic Therapist Association

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