BY COLE SHELTON AND EMANUEL GEORGE
Students in the Athletic Therapy program at Sheridan College gathered last Friday at the Mississauga Grand Banquet Hall for their annual banquet to honour the hard work and achievements of students in the program, and to hand out scholarships and internships.
Cheers and cries of joy rang out from the approximate 170 students in attendance, signalling the start to the banquet.
“Our program is very difficult and very time consuming,” said Diane Begin who won the Tom Fried Award and was one of the hosts. “It is a good wrapup to the year where we celebrate making it through the year, finishing classes, also the honour students who have excelled and done above and beyond work. It is a really great night.”
The Athletic Therapy program is one of the most widely respected and competitive programs in the country, offering internships with Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, Canada Basketball and the National Ballet of Canada and others.
Sheridan also has Anne Hartley, considered a legend and a pioneer of athletic therapy throughout the world, come in and work with the students.
“It’s the best one in Canada,” said Hartley, referring to Sheridan’s program. “Some of the other courses (college programs) are exercised physiology or kinesiology and the last two years are athletic therapy. Only Camosun College (in Victoria) and Sheridan have four full years devoted to athletic therapy.”
Students from the program are already making an impact on the real world as Meagan Anstruther, recipient of the First Responder award and the Dr. Taylor Award, assisted in saving someone’s life after a car crash.
“It means a lot to be there for someone in that capacity and to just like help them through something where they have no idea what is happening to them, and you’re there as there support system,” said Anstruther. “As someone who can comfort and help and get them on to the next stage with the paramedics. That was huge, it was awesome and a part of what helped me realize that I love doing this. I love helping people, and I was happy to help someone in that capacity.”
Along with Anstruther, Victor Lanzillotta has been making an impact on the world through his research to better identify concussions in athletes. “Basically, my research is a non-invasive way to look for concussive biomarkers,” said Lanzillotta. “Right now, there is very little research looking into it. My study is essentially the first study or proposed study that would look at micro RNA specifically at the time of injury. It’s a pilot study, we analyze the samples to check and see if there is a correlation between saliva markers and concussed athletes.”
“As athletic therapists, because we can’t take blood, saliva is the next best thing. If my research grant goes through we could find a correlation between the saliva and concussions. So down the road, we could use a spit test to diagnose a concussion on the field.”
For his research efforts, Lanzillotta was awarded the Dr. Bob Jackson Award and the Anne Hartley Award of Excellence.
For many in this field of work, it is more than just a job. “It’s all about making a difference showing you care and helping people get better,” said program coordinator Paul Brisebois.
2018 Athletic Therapy banquet award winners:
KINEMEDICS AWARD: Steven Lam
FIRST RESPONDER AWARD: Meagan Anstruther
OATA 1 and 2: Dana Renfrew, Alice Sobiesiak and Gabrielle Boulding
CANADA BASKETBALL: Nathan Wong
Blue Jays Scholarship: Wade Sadoway
DR. TAYLOR AWARD: Meagan Anstruther
DR. MICHAEL REIERSON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Whitney Gallant
EVB MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: Jeannine Fontyn
NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA: Rachel Rennick
CATA Student Leadership Award: Jordan Ealdama
TOM FRIED AWARD: Diane Begin
RAPTORS 905 Internship: Paul Trevor and Victoria Cosway
MICHELLE KUKTA MEMORIAL AWARD: Katelyn Watts
LOI QUACH MEMORIAL: Desiree Kogel
ROBERT FIRTH MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: Natalie Figueira
Dr. BOB JACKSON: Victor Lanzillotta
ANNE HARTLEY Award of Excellence: Victor Lanzillotta and Shannon Walsh Moreau