There is a natural synergy between massage and the well-being of athletes. 1987 was a milestone year in Canada, a handful of dedicated Massage Therapists decided to take this massage mandate to the next level. We have not looked back.
The Canadian Sport Massage Association, subsequently renamed the Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association, was federally incorporated in 1987. The saying goes: “We are standing on the shoulders of giants!”, and members instrumental in the early years of the organisation (Marylou Lombardi, Grace Chan, Ed Ratz, John D'Aguanno, Georgio Trimarchi, Aurel Hamran, and Geraldine Barrett) set the stage for what was to come. The National Sport Massage Certification Program was established three years later which enabled the Canadian Olympic Committee to recognize certified sport massage therapists as eligible for selection to Canadian Medical Teams for Major Games.
CSMTA is at present is under the dedicated stewardship of a 2nd generation of therapists who have taken the organization's workings to the next level. Members such as Trish Schiedel, Kim Mark-Goldsworthy, Kip Petch, Paula Burchat, Hana Holland, Kristy Wiltshire, Jonathan Maister, Remo Bucci, Monty Churchman, Jeanette Dobmeier, Jessica Sears and Mike Grafstein among others have made their own “2nd generation impact” with their own unique skills and dedication. As an organisation we are proud of our achievements and the fact that our executive and membership reflect Canada's diverse culture, gender and experience level.
Many challenges presented the fledgling organization and our mandates had to be established. Strong consideration had to be given to standardized athlete care, country-wide education in Sport Massage to interested therapists, and promotion to the public and other health care professionals. Membership growth was essential which increased revenue and importantly, helped distribute the workload associated with a functioning organization.
In recent years CSMTA, as the certifying body for sport massage therapists in Canada, has grown considerably and is represented across the country. There are at present 6 provincial chapters. I.e. Atlantic Chapter, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The CSMTA is also a member of the Expert Groups of sport medicine disciplines which includes Sport Physicians, Sport Chiropractors, Athletic Therapists, Sport Physiotherapists and Sport Psychologists. Sport Massage Therapists thus take their place among Canada's other recognized sport medicine entities.
While our participation at major games is vital, our presence at grassroots events working with all active people is where we have our highest profile. CSMTA members are present at Triathlons, Marathons, swim meets, Hockey tournaments and Track and Field, and among other events which showcase a countrywide neighbourhood and community presence.
The public and health care professionals have recognized us as experts in sport medicine. In cooperation with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and other Franchise Holders (FHs), the CSMTA provides services to the National Sport Organizations for provincial and national teams, individual athletes, and for the Canadian Health Care Team at international competitions and Major Games.
The evolution of our certification process, largely under the care of Remo Bucci, has resulted in a fair exam addressing the knowledge and skills required by the Sport Massage Therapist. Similarly, the education opportunities of CSMTA include a 3 course correspondence Sport Massage Therapy Diploma which broaden the applicant’s knowledge and assist with preparation for the certification exam. Subjects include Sport Psychology, Sport Physiology and Sport Injuries.
The 4th component, the correspondence Sport Massage course, is under development. In all cases the student receives the exam in the mail and writes the exam in the presence of a proctor. The mailed exam is then mailed back for grading.
As an indirect extension of this, Alberta members Kip Petch and Aurel Hamran have taken on one of CSMTA’s most ambitious projects, that of developing a comprehensive Sport Massage manual including specialty chapters focussing on specific sports. This is without precedent in Canada. CSMTA members contributed chapters for this ambitious and worthwhile undertaking. The complete text will be available for purchase for healthcare professionals and the general public. It will, in essence, showcase much of what CSMTA has come to represent and will be an outstanding example of our body of knowledge to the international sport medicine community.
Our membership is represented across the country. Primary membership categories include Student Members who must be registered in a government licensed massage therapy school within Canada. Student members receive notice of all CSMTA member meetings and participate at virtually all CSMTA activities other than voting and certain committee positions.
A Certification Candidate Member SMT(cc) has successfully completed a massage therapy program with a government licensed massage therapy school in Canada and who is a member in good standing of their respective provincial Massage Therapy College or regulatory body and professional massage therapy association. Candidate members may vote at all CSMTA member meetings and may use the CSMTA insignia SMT(cc).
A Certified Sport Massage Therapist Member has successfully completed all requirements of the National Sport Massage Certification Program© and is a member in good standing of their respective provincial Massage Therapy college or regulatory body. They may work unsupervised at all levels of sport, vote at all CSMTA member meetings and may use the CSMTA insignia SMT(C).
Certification requires 500 documented contact hours of Sport Massage. This should include contact and non-contact sports, up to 100 student hours and at least 3 different sports. The CSMTA website gives further details but essentially, the therapist must be familiar with common injuries and treatments seen “on site, on game day” as well as “in clinic”. They must be comfortable interacting with athletes, coaches, managers, team officials and expert groups of health teams. The therapist must be comfortable dealing with situations as the primary and secondary medical personnel on duty and should have gained valuable experience enabling selection to the Health Care Team at Major Games and competitions.
The CSMTA website (www.CMSTA.ca) is a comprehensive resource detailing all aspects of the organization for members as well as other interested parties. As a clearing house of information on locating therapists, education, certification and other information, it truly reflects the organization in the 21stscentury.
Our annual Conference and AGM showcases our organization. This outstanding educational, social and networking event spans the country and has included cities such as Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa as well as Kelowna.
The Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association has evolved both in strength and size. The spirit with which members interact in clinic, at conferences, and at sporting events evokes the spirit with which they live and love their profession. What’s not to love? We work and travel with active people who love life.
We are Sport Massage Therapists! We keep athletes in trusted hands!
By Jonathan Maister, CAT(C) RMT SMT(C)
Jonathan is a Canadian Registered Massage Therapist and Certified Athletic Therapist with a further specialty and certification in Sport Massage. At this time, only, 3 people across Canada have all three of these designations!