Athletic therapy resources expanded at KPU

Department sees big changes with more access for Eagles.

This past summer has seen major growth for Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s athletic departments. Among this growth is the expansion of KPU’s athletic therapy team, which is open to Kwantlen’s student athletes free of charge. The new athletic clinic is staffed by head athletic therapist Sarah Poole and a team of student therapists.

“Right now the [KPU athletic] coaches who all come from a professional background . . . are all used to working with a therapy clinic to get their athletes back and running,” says athletic director David Kent on the need for these expansions.

With this expansion comes the need for more space. To that end, the old athletic office in Cedar 1035 on the Surrey campus has been cleared out and repurposed to serve as the new athletic clinic. Across the hall from the clinic, Cedar 1028 and 1029 have been assigned as the new athletic offices.

Kent, who was brought in to oversee KPU Eagles athletics and recreation in November of last year, put these changes and expansions into motion. Previously, Kent worked as the communications and marketing manager for the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. At the time of Kent’s arrival, athletic therapy was overseen by a part-time student therapist from SFU.

“She did a great job, but she was a student,” explains Kent. “I felt the taking care of [the student athletes] medically [and] athletically was the number one issue that needed to be addressed to improve KPU overall.”

It was with these goals in mind that Kent hired Poole as the head athletic therapist this past July. Kent and Poole previously had three years of experience working together at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she was the head athletic therapist. Poole also has experience working with the Abbotsford Heat and Vancouver Whitecaps FC women’s team.

“We were very fortunate when Sarah Poole decided to leave Fraser Valley for KPU. She’s a brilliant athletic therapist,” says Kent. “It’s just been head-over-heels, a day and night difference for the student athletes.”

“I think I brought a lot of experience from my previous positions, so that helped us get up and running really quickly,” says Poole.

“So far it’s been good,” she adds. “I think I’ve hit the ground running, and the athletes have been really receptive to having the program here. [They] are happy to have more services available to them.”

As head athletic therapist, Poole splits her time between the clinic and the field. In the clinic, her job is similar to that of a physiotherapist, assessing and treating muscle injuries, providing hands-on treatments such as massage and trigger point release, and making use of the wide range of equipment at the clinic. She tends to see a mix of chronic and acute (new and old) injuries with about 70 per cent being lower body injuries. Poole says she sees somewhere around 14 students in an average day. The clinic is currently only available to registered student athletes.

For all home soccer and basketball games, Poole is on-hand to oversee pre-game stretching, provide last-minute assessments and provide first aid and emergency care when needed.

Also among the new athletic staff is the addition of four new student trainers. Two of the new student trainers come from UBC, and the others from UFV. These trainers are students, but they also have extensive training in athletic therapy from their previous institutions. These trainers are responsible for the men’s and women’s soccer and basketball teams, and they attend to the teams at practices and games, both home and away. Poole herself is on-hand only at home games, so the presence of student trainers takes on extra importance at away games.

“[Student trainers] put in as many hours as the athletes do,” says Poole. “They’re usually the first ones at practice and the last ones to go.”

Poole says student athletes coming into the clinic for the first time should expect (first of all) for it to be very busy. Poole and her staff will do what they can to keep them active and make recovery as quick as possible, and she says that she’ll take the time to listen to what their injury is, do a thorough assessment and provide treatment and rehab.

“One of our goals is to try and keep them as active as they can be,” says Poole, “so that when they are ready to go back, they can hit the ground running.”


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