My Experience As A Sports Massage Therapist In The Canadian Football League With The Edmonton Eskimos Football Club


As our City prepares to host the 106th Grey Cup, sadly without the Eskimos, our blog this month will feature Ty Henry, our Registered Massage Therapist who is currently completing his Sports Massage Certification with the Edmonton Eskimos. As you will read, Ty’s determination, initiative, creativity and talent have been a great asset to our team here at Elevation Physiotherapy and he has obviously won over the staff and players from our beloved football team. Ty is the kind of therapist and individual who represents our Clinic well. A person who strives for excellence, is always asking questions, and is never satisfied with the status quo. What can we do better/How can we be better are questions we should always be asking as practicing clinicians. Enjoy the Grey Cup and of course, Ty’s blog.  – Albert Chan

I studied Massage Therapy at MacEwan University. I chose this program based on the reputation the program has built over the last 40 years training qualified, knowledgeable, and competent therapists. During my two years in the program I was fortunate to have worked in the Athletic Therapy clinic gaining invaluable experience working with a variety of student-athletes. I participated in several practicum assignments around the city ranging from golf, cross country running, track & field, swimming, hockey, basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

Heading into my final semester I decided to set my sights higher for my next Sports Massage assignment. I wanted to work in a professional sports environment. The Canadian Football League (CFL) training camp was about to start and so I contacted the Director of Human Performance at the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club to inquire if they required any RMT’s for pre-event, post-event, and recovery massage services. To my surprise they were planning on running a pilot project for the year due to the previous year’s man-games lost to injury. I was invited by the team to demonstrate my skill-set. Long story short, they retained my services for the 2018 season.

Working with the Edmonton Eskimos has been a great experience. I was granted full access to the locker room, I quickly established many relationships with the players, and was an integral part of the players’ preparation for games. The team locker room is located in the depths of Commonwealth Stadium. The walls are full of history and rich with tradition. The locker room is a mix of Canadian and American athletes. There is also a mix of ex-National Football League (NFL) players, CFL veterans, and many new comers from American NCAA and Canadian CIS Universities.

The experience has also been quite humbling. A number of the athletes I worked with were very large and muscular. These men have been honing their craft and perfecting their minds and bodies for years. These players are extremely fit! The players would sign up and patiently wait their turn for their massage. They were polite, grateful and appreciative of everything I could do to assist with their exhausted bodies.

For the duration of the season I provided massage prior to games and recovery massage the day after games and practices. On game day, players had specific requests such as warming up their glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads followed by stretching of the lower extremities. Typically, a pre-event massage is between 15-20 minutes. On post-event or recovery days, some players requested a relaxation massage to soothe their achy muscles and joints, while others had more specific requests such as massage for an old injury like a torn ACL, hamstring, or rotator cuff. Typically, a post-event massage takes about 30 minutes.

In this setting, I have the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary setting with physicians and other allied health care professionals. I also enjoy meeting the unique needs of each player depending on their position from linebacker, to quarterback, to kicker.

The opportunity afforded to me by the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club has made me a better therapist. I also recognize that I have been granted a very special and enviable opportunity to work with a great football club in this city. I am thankful and grateful to the staff and players of the Edmonton Eskimos to be a part of their health care team. Go Eskies!

Submitted by Ty Henry, RMT.

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