Behind the Game: How university athletic therapists keep students on the court

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WATCH ABOVE: When university sports eventually get back in action, Brennan Mahon will be tasked to keep the athletes healthy. In this week’s Behind the Game, Quinn Phillips introduces the athletic therapist who’s not only helping student athletes, but kinesiology students as well.

Brennan Mahon fell in love with athletic therapy during his undergrad when he volunteered with the varsity health team as a student kinesiologist.

“So I then applied to school,” said Mahon. “I went to Mount Royal in Calgary. It was just a one year program back then. Completed that certificate, then I started in the profession.”

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He’s now been with the University of Alberta’s varsity health team since 2015. He works out of the Saville Community Sports Centre which houses volleyball, basketball, tennis and curling.

“The variety is very exciting,” said Mahon. “There’s something different every day.”

The university still has the student volunteer program, giving kinesiology undergrads the chance for volunteer work. And Mahon says they’re a vital part of keeping athletes healthy.

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The University of Alberta has three athletic therapists and one physiotherapist on staff full time for its 16 varsity teams.

“It’s pretty easy to do the math and see that we don’t have the capacity to do in-depth coverage of every single team,”  Mahon said. “We heavily rely on those student kinesiologists to be our in the trenches people.

“Those people who have to be at each practice or each game, helping out with the prep, and we oversee all that.”

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There’s between 30 and 40 students in the program, and they are volunteering anywhere between 20 and 40 hours a week.

“Whatever we can do to give back to them by way of experience and education is really important,” said Mahon.

He estimates anywhere from three to five students a year will end up choosing a path as athletic therapist, physiotherapist or chiropractor coming out of the program.