Therapists put athletes back into the game

Saul Behrman and student intern Jessica Thompson.

Saul Behrman doesn’t wear a Ridgebacks jersey or don the Durham colours, doesn’t coach or manage, but is a critical member of the varsity sports community on campus.

Behrman is an athletic trainer at Durham College and UOIT’s training unit and plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation of injured players.

Behrman makes it his primary goal to prevent injuries and help players from more than 21 UOIT and Durham College teams get back in the game.

“After someone gets hurt, we would bring them into the clinic, and myself, or we have two other certified ATs (athletic trainers) here as well, or some of our students, we would supervise them in doing assessments and rehabilitation for those injuries,” said Behrman.

The athletic trainers are not only available to an athlete who walks in and requires treatment, they are also on scene for every home and away game Durham or UOIT has in case of an injury or emergency on scene.

“We also do the on-field assessment as well, so we’re responsible for home game coverage, and we send students away as well, to provide any therapy or emergency management for any injuries that happen on the field or on the court,” said Behrman.

Players who are injured on the field must be lead through strict protocols to determine if the injury is serious enough to warrant a pull from the game, Behrman said. Athletic trainers must follow these protocols to ensure the safety of the individual and prevent further injury.

“They are trained…so if someone got hurt on the field we have protocols to do an on-field assessment…is it safe to move the person? There’s no more of a serious injury like a fracture or an urgent situation, then how is it that we are going to get them off the field? Then if it’s safe to get them off the field we would do what we call a sideline assessment,” said Behrman.

Athletic trainers have the unique job where they get to interact heavily with their patients; they can form long-term bonds with students who receive their treatment.

“I love working with the athletes here, I think they are all at a really cool age where they still are competitive, but they’re also students, they understand just your everyday life…they want to learn and they want to understand what is wrong with them and how to fix it,” said Jessica Thompson, a third year athletic therapy student from Sheridan who is working as an intern with Durham and UOIT’s athletic training unit.

Cassie Charette, a goaltender for the UOIT Ridgebacks women’s hockey team, credits the athletic trainers for helping her stay in the game.

“They’ve helped me so much, I’ve had a recurring hip problem since my first year and I’ve honestly come here probably once a week,” said Charette.