Name: Martin Chisholm
Born: Montreal, QC
Profession: Sports Medicine
What happens when an athlete gets an injury and needs to get back into top form? That's where the science of sports medicine comes in handy. Martin Chisholm (pictured on far right next to Doug Stacey, physiotherapist for the Canadian Women's hockey team) speaks with us about how to get an athlete on the road to recovery and back into their game.
What is a physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists work with a very wide range of individuals. Typically these people will have problems with some form of mobility and this is affecting their life. The problem might be with the nervous system, such as a stroke or a spinal cord injury; the problem might be associated with a surgery they’ve just had. They may have sprained a joint, torn a ligament, strained a muscle and now they cannot participate in their sport. This is the area - sport medicine -where I practice.
What is a typical day like for you?
No two days are really the same. I will usually see 12-20 patients in a day. Most have seen me before, but a few will be new to me. Every day I see people with problems ranging from their ankle to their neck. Some have just been injured and some are returning to their sport at a competitive level. Some are kids (aged 8-12), most are adults, and some are seniors (65 and up). There is the usual paperwork that can be a drag, but has to be done. There is a lot of on-going learning. Thankfully, this can mostly be done online.
Did you always want to be a physiotherapist?
Not at all! I first started university in mathematics at Concordia University in Montreal. I was realizing that this wasn't the right thing for me. At the same time I injured myself and had to spend time as a patient in a physiotherapy clinic. The rest, as they say, is history.
What courses in high school prepared you for this field?
Mostly science related courses, particularly those pertaining to health sciences. However, Math, Chemistry, Physics, English, and some of the "humanities" courses are also typically required courses.
Where did you go to university/college and how did you decide where to go?
I was at Concordia University in math when I decided to move on to the world of sport medicine. I switched to their Exercise Science program and did their specialization in Athletic Therapy. This was a blast and was great training as an athletic therapist. Unfortunately, the job market for such a professional is limited, so I entered into physiotherapy. I attended the University of Western Ontario. At the time it was the only 3 year program (if you already had a degree) in Ontario while all others were 4 year programs.
What is the coolest part of your job?
The biggest thrill is when you know you’ve helped someone get back to what they wanted to do. Having that impact on someone's life is a real buzz.
You are the physiotherapist for the OHL and Memorial Cup champions, the London Knights. What's that like?
Myself and my coworker are the physiotherapists for the team (they also have a trainer as well as a personal trainer). If they get injured and the trainer needs more advanced help with the injury the players come down to see us at our clinic. We also help them get ready before games. In general, it's just fun being a part of the team and helping out however you can. Now, 2004-2005 was an exceptional year that I will never forget. That team was exceptional…talk about a winning attitude!
Are you a hockey fan?
I have always loved hockey. Growing up in Montreal you can't help but be a hockey fan.
What do you do in your spare time?
I try to stay fit. With having two young kids time is tight, so I mostly run and work out at the fitness club where I work. I also enjoy reading, but nothing too heavy.
What was the dumbest thing you've ever done at work?
The dumbest thing I tend to do is forget people's names. I often forget if the person's right or left side is hurt. The dumbest thing I ever did was leave someone waiting for me in an examining room for 45 minutes. Thankfully he wasn't in a rush, and being pretty relaxed, he fell asleep. No harm done!
What music do you have in your CD player right now?
Green Day's "American Idiot". What a perfect title!
Any advice that you would give others seeking a similar career?
You have to take initiative. You have to be responsible for your own education. You may not know where you want to go in life - that's OK. But don't blame others in your life for it! I supervise a lot of high school co-op students and it drives me nuts to hear "my teacher didn't ...". Reality is the teacher probably did mention it, or it was written somewhere you just didn't read (or remember reading). Also, volunteer. You will learn about a possible career, but you also develop extremely valuable inter-personal and professional skills (without even knowing it!). Volunteering also, usually, looks awesome on a resume when you go looking for your first job.
For more information on this profession, check out these great links:
And for all you hockey fans, you can learn more about the London Knights hockey team at: