After years of playing soccer — rep and house leagues in Williams Lake and a division 1 team in Victoria — Britny Sukert is back in Williams Lake — this time on the other side of the bench.
Sukert is an athletic therapist and moved back to town last year, opening her clinic, One Therapy Rehabilitation, upstairs at the Total Ice Centre, on Nov. 1 of 2017.
The 27-year-old is from the Cariboo, and grew up in Horsefly, and moved to Victoria in 2009 to take courses at the University of Victoria.
When she realized her program wasn’t for her, she headed back to the Cariboo, and then back to Victoria when she decided on a program that was more suited to what she wanted to do: a Bachelors of Athletic and Exercise Therapy at Camosun College.
It was a four year program, the first of which Sukert said she got to “run around and have fun” familiarizing herself with working out, different sports and athletics.
After the second year, she got to work, learning emergency response, and doing 1,200 hours of work experience on top of the classroom work.
When she certified as an athletic therapist she started work right away, working for a soccer program, and then in 2016 opened her own clinic in November, renting space in a yoga studio.
From there, she and her boyfriend made a decision to move back to Williams Lake.
“We thought, let’s give it a shot and move back,” she said.
As an athletic therapist, Sukert focuses on prevention, care and the reconditioning of musculoskeletal injuries, as well she is able to respond to emergency situations on the field, and rehabilitation to return to the sport. She’s trained in a variety of manual therapy techniques, taping, and has a variety of certifications
She also tailors programs and nutrition to individual athletes and works with different teams.
“We are the people on the bench with khakis, a polo and a fanny pack,” she says. “If you are watching a game, and someone gets hurt, the person who goes out in a fanny pack, that’s me.”
Sukert also volunteers at home games with the Williams Lake Stampeders, and was out and about during the Coy Cup.
“We have to make sure the facility is good, that everyone knows who we are and make sure we have an emergency action plan in place for visiting teams.”
In emergencies, Sukert is trained to remove equipment without jeopardizing a player or injury, and thus aids paramedics.
In her clinic, Sukert says she loves being her own boss, and designing her own treatments specific to clients.
“I was in and out of [injury] rehab all the time with soccer and it’s hard — it’s hard on your body, you’re away from your team, you’re injured. There are so many factors people don’t understand, so I wanted to be that go-to person for people. The ‘this is the person who can fix me, she knows me, she knows my body.’ I want to be that for people.”
As to how athletic therapy fits into her own life — Sukert has made a lot of steps in recent years to get back to exercises, and can often be seen downstairs of Total Ice beside her own clients exercising.
“I know how this works, I am still going through it, I still struggle, so it makes it easier to connect with people one-on-one.”