Hands on: sports therapy with the Warriors

Kinesiology lab course trains student therapists

Kinesiology = the science of movement

Kinesiology (we call it KIN) is the science of human movement. That’s a pretty simple definition, but if you think about it, it’s really all about body health. KIN covers all the bases – from the science of anatomy and biomechanics, to injury prevention and rehabilitation, plus nutrition and wellness.

In practice

While fundamental sciences are definitely part of KIN theory, courses like KIN 140L - Sports Injury Management Lab – focus on the practical. “The lab is where students take knowledge from the classroom and apply it,” says Rob Burns, clinical instructor in the Department of Kinesiology.

Waterloo Kinesiology students practise foot and ankle taping.

Waterloo Kinesiology students practise foot and ankle taping.

KIN 140L is a non-credit course with a waitlist. (Whaaat?!) Seriously. It’s a popular course because it gives students the chance to practice, make mistakes, ask questions and hone the skills needed to treat or prevent injuries. The opportunity to practice is a huge benefit!

“I think that getting up and doing things after they’re shown to me helps to solidify it 20 times over,” says first-year student Emma.

I don’t think it would’ve sunk in as well if I was told how to tape an ankle as opposed to being shown it and then actually getting a chance to try it on someone else in KIN 140L.

Emma securing tape on a classmate's ankle.

In every class students work with a partner to apply what they’re learning to a real, live human being. Whether it’s taping, massage, injury assessment – even making an ice bag – the skills students perfect in 140L are all leading toward bigger opportunities. “We try and make each week very applied in terms of palpation,” notes Rob. “Students also practice therapeutic skills and gain confidence needed for co-op jobs in the community, in our campus clinics, or as a student therapist for Waterloo varsity teams.”

Go Warriors!

Students who complete KIN 140L can apply to become a student therapist with one of Waterloo’s 31 varsity teams. “Student therapists are assigned to teams and end up doing anything from pre-practice taping, emergency care on the field, game injury evaluation, concussion assessment, and post-practice treatment,” says Rob. “They become part of the team and can gain hundreds of hours of practical experience.”

Rob Burns, clinical instructor in the Department of Kinesiology, talking to students in class.

It’s definitely a resume builder and it’s one of the reasons Devon wanted to take the KIN 140 lab. “I thought that working as a student therapist would be a good way to see if it’s something I’d like to do in the future. So I took 140L, loved the course, and will be getting involved with a team next season,” says Devon.

I think I’m most excited about managing injuries. I see a lot of injuries, a lot of rolled ankles in my sport and to see how to treat that for someone else – it’s really cool.

Rob demonstrates proper taping technique to Kinesiology student, Devon.

More than therapy

The hands-on opportunities for student therapists are amazing, and a great way to solidify in-class learning. But it’s more than practical. Student therapists become the first line of defence at all games, practices and tournaments. It’s a big responsibility. But it’s also a chance to become part of the team, make new friends, get to know coaches and therapy professionals.

“It’s beyond the technical skills. The soft skills they learn – like team work and time management – are incredibly important,” says Rob. “These are skills that can be applied to any other field.”

Why Kinesiology at Waterloo

Is KIN for you?

There are so many minors in the KIN program, so many pathways, and Waterloo makes it so accessible. You’ll definitely find something that fascinates you.

Emma

Is Waterloo for you?

Waterloo has a great environment. It doesn’t just focus on academics, it focuses on you as a person with workshops, opportunities, and internships to help you develop skills and help you further yourself and your career aspirations. They really try to help you find the best fit for you

Devon

Learn more about Waterloo's Kinesiology degree, and the minors available within the program.