Tucked away near the hallway that connects the main gym and Gym C, the Sports Clinic is a common sight for those who walk past the control desk of the RAWC. But not everybody is familiar with how it works.
Since September 2008, the RAWC has shared its fairly fancy renovated space with the privately owned clinic, which has found a way to generate foot traffic by offering a wide variety of services for both student and professional athletes. Over the years the clinic has grown in the types of services it offers, expanding to meet the changing needs of the public.
Megan Provost is a registered physiotherapist at the clinic with a background in handling sports-related injuries from her time at the University of Western Ontario, where she worked as an athletic trainer for the varsity women’s volleyball team. Provost indicates that the clinic is looking to shift its main goal from simply treating an injury to preventing a recurrence.
“A big part of our role is secondary prevention,” says Provost, who is one of six physiotherapists working at the UTM location. “It’s an incredibly important piece that we like to emphasize, even after a minor injury.”
The focus on educating the client after the injury has become standard practice in the hopes that athletes will understand the potential severity of a second injury. Although the clinic has not been directly affiliated with UTM or any of its teams for the past six years, UTM’s new membership in the OCAA will lead to certain teams being placed under the care of the clinic’s therapists.
Besides the standard physiotherapy and athletic therapy offered in treating sports-related injuries, the clinic has branched out into fields that have not always been considered integral to an athlete’s recovery. Osteopathy, acupuncture, and homeopathy are recent additions that were requested by students and the general public.
One of the more notable services is a focus on mental health. “We do have a sports psychologist who comes in on request,” says Heather Marchment, an athletic therapist who has been with the clinic since it opened at UTM. “[Sports psychologists] deal with post-injury and concussion work as well as just general issues for things as minor as a mental block that may prevent an athlete from reaching their goal.” The sports psychology sessions are catered to each athlete based on evaluations that determine the “psychological skillset” of the individual. By cooperating with their coach and parents and pursuing a specific set of goals, athletes have found success in their mental game in order to help support their physical play.
At the moment, the clientele who use the clinic is split between students and non-students. “I’d say it’s fifty-fifty,” says Marchment. “We thought we were going to get mostly students when we started, but it’s been fairly even up until this point.”
With UTM officially gaining varsity status, the clinic will likely see a rise in student clientele this school year, whether they need recovery services or just a tune-up. UTM students also receive discounts on certain services provided by the clinic.