KPU Athletic Department expands athletic therapy resources

Photos by Mark Stewart.  Used with permission from the Runner.

Photos by Mark Stewart. Used with permission from the Runner.

This past summer has seen big changes for Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s athletic departments. Among those is the expansion of KPU’s athletic therapy team. 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.

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 taken over to become the new athletic offices.

Athletic director David Kent, who was brought in to oversee KPU Eagles Athletics and Recreation in November of last year, put the changes and expansions into motion. Previously Kent worked as the communications and marketing manager for the University of the Frasier Valley Cascades. At the time of his arrival, athletic therapy was overseen by a part-time student therapist from SFU.

“She did a great job but she was a student,” Kent said. “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.”

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

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

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

As head athletic therapist. Poole splits her time between the clinic and the field. While 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, as well as 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.

For all home soccer and basketball games, Poole is on hand to oversee pregame stretching, provide last-minute assessment 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 them come from UBC the others from UFV. Student trainers are responsible for the men’s and women’s soccer and basketball teams. They attend the teams at practices and games, both home and away. Poole is on hand at home games only so the presence of student trainers takes on extra importance at away games.

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

Poole said student athletes coming into the clinic for the first time should expect for it to be busy. They should also expect Poole and her staff to do what they can to keep them active and make recovery as quick as possible. She said 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 so that when they are ready to go back they can hit the ground running,” she said.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a student journalist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He is also a regular contributor to the Runner, KPU's student publication.

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