Students lack knowledge of athletic therapy on campus


When athletes are injured during games, they often have trainers close by in case they need medical attention. But when other students get sports-related injuries, they might not know where to go.

“It depends on how bad the injury is,” said Mike Lempen, a second-year business administration student. “I’d either have to just try and sleep it off or go to the hospital.”

Lempen hasn’t had any major injuries since he badly sprained his ankle in elementary school, but he was never properly treated. Because of that, he said his ankle still bothers him “from time to time.”

Stephanie Smith, one of the athletic therapists at Red River College, said a lack of education about athletic therapy and proper injury treatment is one of the biggest reasons for re-injury.

Along with Andrea Wazney, Smith treats Rebels athletes and patients referred by Manitoba Public Insurance and the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba. She said she doesn’t see many non-athlete students, likely because they haven’t heard services are available on campus.

“I had no clue there was athletic therapy here,” Lempen said. “I don’t think too many students know about it.”

The students who do know are Rebels athletes, like Anderson Pereira, who receive personal sessions and on-field treatments for ankle and groin injuries while playing men’s soccer and futsal this past year.

“My ankle was already kind of weak before the soccer season started. In my third or fourth game, I got hit on it, and I pulled my groin a few games later,” he said. “At one point, I couldn’t play without taping my ankle.”

Smith and Wazney led Pereira through massage therapy sessions, exercises to strengthen his muscles and stretching activities that he said helped him regain his strength and become more confident on the field.

“We are there when the injury hap¬pens, we treat them on the sidelines, we rehab them in the clinic and we get them back in the game,” the athletic therapists said in an email.

But the pair also treats people with non-sports-related injuries, meaning RRC students are welcome to pop by if they’ve popped something out of place.

“We help people overcome their injuries by finding the source of the pain,” they said. “We see a lot of people with neck and back pain from sustained postures like study¬ing or working at desks all day.”

The Red River College Athletic Therapy Clinic is located in the North Gym at the Notre Dame Campus. Services are open to everyone, and all appointments last for about an hour. Initial assessments cost $65, and follow-up treatments are $55.

The athletic therapists said they can help people heal, but they just need students to walk through the door.

“We have the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life and have a direct, positive effect on their lives. How can you pass that up? We just wish more people knew about us.”