January AT of the Month - Darryl Thorvaldson ~ Manitoba Athletic Therapists Association

January AT of the Month - Darryl Thorvaldson

Darryl Thorvaldson – Bio

Darryl Thorvaldson is a Certified Athletic Therapist at Joint Effort Sports Injury Clinic. When he isn’t treating patients, he is a full-time Firefighter and Licensed Paramedic with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. He completed his undergraduate degree at The University of Winnipeg in the Physical Activity and Sport Studies curriculum, specializing in Athletic Therapy. Then, after working full-time as an Athletic Therapist, he returned to school to the Manitoba Emergency Services College in Brandon and received his Certificate in the Public Firefighter and Paramedic Program. He is also certified in Water Rescue at the Technician level and as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist.

Prior to Certifying in 2003 with the CATA, Darryl had the pleasure of working as a Sports Therapist at Esporta Health Clubs (now part of the Virgin Active group) in London England.  Darryl was the first sports therapist licensed by the Wandsworth Council, the government representing the borough of Wandsworth in South West London. After returning home, he gained experience as a Certified Athletic Therapist with Dr. Greg Chernish at Health Point Pain & Injury Clinic. There he specialized in the rehabilitation of the Industrial Athlete and injured workers and continues to make this an area of interest. He is also the owner of Active Therapy Athletic Therapy Services.

Darryl enjoys speaking to the public about one of his passions, Athletic Therapy. He has performed numerous talks to various organizations including WCB, MPI, Manitoba Teacher’s Society and Great-West Life to name a few. He was invited to speak on the topic of ‘The Industrial Athlete” at the 2007 Canadian Athletic Therapists Association’s national conference.
In what little spare time he has left, Darryl represents the region of Manitoba as Director on the Board of Directors of the CATA. Recently, Darryl has also taken on the role as the Co-Chair for the National Insurance Task Force for the CATA. His volunteer work has also extended to the MATA in the past.

Why did you choose the profession of AT?
I knew I wanted to do something in sports medicine, primarily being on the sideline. I just started my first year of university at UofM, planning on going into physiotherapy. I was playing soccer at the time and happened to get injured in the provincial final. We won that game and I knew couldn’t afford to take time off training. I limped into my first year psych class and a fellow soccer player friend of mine asked what happened. After I told her, she told me I should go see Ben Trunzo at UofW. I asked if he was a “physio”? She replied that he was an Athletic Therapist. I had never heard of the profession, but she intrigued me when she mentioned he was a soccer player too. I went for my first appointment the next day and Ben had me at a full sprint in 3 days. This is what I wanted to do. I finished the year, transferred to UofW and the rest is history.

What made you decide to also become a fire paramedic?
The emergency portion of our training has always interested me. Growing up, I always thought it would be fun to be a firefighter. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t find it fun driving a fire truck? My wife’s father is a retired Captain and as I spent more and more time with her family, the interest in that profession grew. The thing that really made me take a stab at it was knowing the schedule of a firefighter/paramedic still allowed me to do my Athletic Therapy on my days off. I applied and was excepted into the Manitoba Emergency Services College. My education and training had placed me far ahead of other’s in my class and continues to help me today.

Do you like being able to work both Clinically and with the Winnipeg Fire Service?
I love the ability to do 2 professions that I love. I could never see myself not being an Athletic Therapist. Being able to do Athletic Therapy, while being a full time firefighter/paramedic has given me the best of 2 worlds. I take pride in the fact I have the ability to meld the two professions, showing colleagues and others how useful Athletic Therapy is to the professions of firefighting and paramedicine.

What is your most memorable moment to date as an AT?
My most memorable moment as an AT was the time the first few students I had at my clinic tell me they passed their certification exam. I wasn’t their SAT, but I still took some pride in knowing I was able to help them in some way achieve their goals.

Advice for students who are learning the profession?
My advice to students who are in the profession is to always think outside of the box. Not only does this apply to rehabilitation planning, but to the profession and your career as a whole. Our specialized training in orthopedics and exercise gives us a special skill set to excel at so many types of positions and professions, other than just clinical work and sports teams.  There are so many successful ATs in this province who don’t do clinical work or see patients for therapy, and love what they do.  Keep your mind open and don’t be afraid to sell yourself and your profession.  The sky’s the limit!

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