Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: BAHS Athletic Therapy
Year of graduation: 2012
Sault Ste. Marie native James Borrelli has returned to his roots as Head Athletic Therapist/Equipment Manager for the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion.
A former therapist for the Toronto Argonauts football team and the Hamilton Bulldogs hockey team, James joined the Battalion in July, 2013. The hockey club moved to North Bay in 2013 after 15 years in Brampton.
“I never thought I would be going back up north after spending the last eight years in Southern Ontario,” says James. “It is actually a welcome change from all the hustle and bustle in the GTA, I don't have to plan my day around morning and evening rush hour traffic.”
But James counts himself lucky to have worked with the Argonauts for two seasons, particularly during the team’s successful run to the 100th Grey Cup in 2012.
“Being with the Argonauts was a great experience,” he said. “Football and hockey are similar in the amount of injuries and contact within the sport. But there are far more players in football; the Argonauts had four therapists and more than 50 players. In North Bay I’m the only therapist for more than 20 players. It will be a challenge, but I think I’m capable of handling it.”
His burgeoning confidence is directly related to his training at Sheridan’s highly prestigious athletic therapy program, maintains James, who also holds a BSc in Human Kinetics from the University of Guelph.
“Sheridan definitely prepared me well to work in my field. The well-rounded program is designed to test you both physically and mentally. As an added bonus, the professors share their wide range of hands-on experience,” says the 2011 recipient of a Canadian Athletic Therapists Association scholarship.
In fact, James took over the reins as the Batallion’s therapist from one of those influential professors – Binne Brouwer - who spent six years with the team in Brampton.
Although James is looking forward to his new role, he doesn’t discount the challenge of keeping elite athletes in top condition.
“We are in charge of the overall health of a large group of players. There is pressure from players, coaches, managers, as well as ourselves to identify an injury, relieve aches, provide proper nutrition regimens, etc. This can be stressful at times, but you just have to stay on task.”
The pressure is a small price to pay for doing what you love, however, adds James, who offers this advice for new graduates: “Don’t stop trying for that job you wanted; the one you went into the program to get. I know it sounds cliché, but if you think about it, somebody has to get that job!”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences-Athletic Therapy program.