New athletic development and recovery centre raises the bar for physiotherapy in Edmonton
By Kay Miller
The body of an Olympic bobsledder is a bit like a finely tuned Formula One car.
“You take it out for a run and then you’ve got to come in for a pit stop and service everything,” says three-time Winter Olympian Neville Wright.
The Edmonton athlete will soon be making his pit stops at a new physiotherapy facility geared toward athletes and fitness buffs: The Athletic development and Recovery Centre (ARC), by Pivotal Physiotherapy, opening May 22 inside Evolve Strength gym on the corner of 124 Street and 102 Avenue.
Pivotal has three clinics across the city. Its 18-month-old Brewery District location, called the High Performance Centre, caters to athletes and their specific needs.
ARC is an extension of this concept, with 1,200 square feet of dedicated space inside the gym (next door), including space for six beds, a private room and hydrotherapy equipment.
The idea is to go beyond providing traditional physical rehab services to offer comprehensive treatment; everything from training and nutrition to mental conditioning, says Pivotal physiotherapist and strength-and-conditioning coach Jack Haworth. Clients will have access to the larger gym for performance development, rehabilitation, evaluation and other fitness activities as needed.
“We’re trying to push people beyond just coming to see us for an injury,” he says. “I’m excited about creating a concept that goes beyond the usual physiotherapy model, which is starting to become a little bit outdated in the athletic community, because there’s so much more to rehab now and so many methods people can utilize to help with their recovery and performance.”
ARC’s staff includes physiotherapists, strength-and-conditioning coaches, a sports psychologist, an athletic therapist and a massage therapist, with plans to bring on a sports medicine doctor and a nutritionist.
In short: ARC will have the full spectrum of services that athletes could need, whether they’re Olympic bobsledders, long-distance runners, college hockey stars, high school soccer players or even weekend warriors.
Wright made use of Pivotal’s rehab, massage, screening and regeneration services during his training for the 2018 Winter Olympics – finding relief for nagging knee and lower back issues, among others. He’s currently transitioning out of his sports career, but still plans to maintain a vigorous fitness routine as a coach and trainer.
“With a centre like that available to me, there will be no excuse not to train and keep going,” he says.
Edmonton-based professional basketball player Steve Sir echoes those sentiments. Sir is currently a member of Team Canada on the 3×3 World Tour (having previously played U.S. Division 1 college ball, and in a professional European league for nine years). To stay in peak physical form, he works out about six times a week, sometimes packing in two practices a day if needed to prepare for a big competition. So it’s no surprise things start to hurt from time to time.
“At this level, you just get used to not feeling 100 per cent. If you’re feeling great, then you’re probably not working as hard as you should,” he says.
Competition takes him all over the world, from a recent game in Korea to upcoming outings in the Netherlands and Philippines.
“Training and recovery become all that much more important to shake off jet lag and long flights, in order to be at your best in competition,” he says.
Sir has tried out most of Pivotal’s athlete-oriented offerings. For instance, he underwent traditional rehab services over several months to help with a sore right hip. He also regularly makes use of the clinic’s more cutting-edge technologies, such as NormaTec compression boots which stimulate circulation and healing for post-game recovery; Halo Neuroscience headphones which use electrical current to prime the brain prior to training; and FITFLIGHTS training. He has participated in blood-flow restriction training, using cuffs on limbs. This new method, popular with elite athletes, allows the body to reap the benefits of high intensity training without applying high compressive joint loads. Sir even had the chance to field-test the company’s meal service, a partnership with local food-delivery outfit The Backyard Basket.
Sir says he’s excited about ARC and the way it links training with treatment and recovery – something he has previously only seen at clinics in the U.S.
“One of the things I’ve enjoyed about Pivotal is how thorough they are,” he says. “They’re quite good at explaining what’s going on, what may have caused it, what they’re going to do to help build it back up or correct what’s going on. There’s a very calm, reassuring demeanour that everyone shares.”
As for Haworth, he’s excited about furthering his work with Edmonton’s athletic community, and tackling any challenge an athlete may bring in. Or, as he puts it: “Making that athlete better than they were when they first in.”
This story was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s custom content studio.