Introducing the Capilano Blues Athletic Therapist
Mya Fraser (She/Her) // Sports Editor
Celina Zhong (She/Her) // Illustrator
Laura Wood is the Athletic Therapist for CapU’s varsity sports program. She has been a part of the Athletics and Recreation department for just over a year now, commencing in August of 2022. Laura’s general duties consist of injury assessments, rehabilitation, pre-practice taping, post-practice recoveries, admin work, and communicating with coaches, contractors, and practicum students. Additionally, she is to travel with all teams on game days to help prep the athletes and support them if any injuries occur in play.
Like many people, Laura grew up playing sports. Her time in physiotherapy dealing with different injuries sparked her interest in the human body. This, combined with her love for sports and working with people are what led her to pursue her career. As an athletic therapist, it would allow her to work in both field and clinical settings while still being a part of teams, aiding from the sidelines.
Laura completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary in 2016. She proceeded to obtain her Advanced Certificate in Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University in 2019. She gained experience there working with the women’s basketball team, and additionally with the University of Calgary’s women’s field hockey and ice hockey teams. Before starting at Cap, she worked on the field with Simon Fraser University’s football team and in their sports medicine clinic.
As a result of working with six teams in three different sports, she learned how the different physical demands of each sport can come with correlating injury trends. “For example, with soccer athletes, we tend to see more lower extremity injuries such as quadriceps or hamstring strains; whereas, with court sports like basketball and volleyball we tend to see a combination of lower and upper extremity injuries such as ankle sprains and shoulder strains,” she said, mentioning how working with multiple sports helps keep her skills sharp with the various injuries.
When asked about the most important part of her job, she stressed athlete safety and her responsibility to act in an athlete’s best interest, even if it means pulling them from play. She explained, “After an injury occurs, it’s my job to ensure they complete proper rehabilitation and only return when they are safe to do so, otherwise it could lead to further injury and potentially affect their career as an athlete.”
All jobs come with different challenges, and for her, it’s avoiding burnout. During the sports season, her days are long and her energy is constantly being used to help others. She has a passion for working with varsity athletes though. Her most recent highlight of the job was just last season, being on the bench with the women’s and men’s basketball teams at provincials when they won silver and gold.
When asked what she enjoys most about the job, she stated, “Getting to know the athletes I work with is by far my favorite part of the job. Working in a varsity setting, I find that I get to hear about the athlete’s lives – their aspirations, struggles, and everything in between. I feel lucky to be a part of these athletes’ lives even if it is in a small way.” She also mentioned being able to manage an injury from the very initial moment until the athlete is fully returned to their sport is a very rewarding experience.
The athletes here are very fortunate to have Laura looking out for them, supporting them, and keeping them safe. She makes her athletic room a safe space for all and we are grateful for the energy and care she provides for everyone. “This job can be hard work at times,” she noted, “but having the opportunity to work with athletes like the ones at Capilano University makes everything worth it! I’m looking forward to seeing what the season ahead has in store.”