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Continued excellence: Sheridan Athletic Therapy grad wins program’s tenth consecutive national research award

Newsroom authorby Patrick NavalAug 6, 2021

Eleanor Miller smiling headshotEleanor Miller is having a stellar year. This past summer she graduated from Sheridan’s Bachelor of Athletic Therapy program with high honours, and as valedictorian of the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies (FAHCS). In addition to these remarkable achievements, Miller was also presented with the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA)’s Student Leadership Award, and the 2021 Review Article Writing Award for her paper in Therapeutic Exercise.   

Miller received a plaque from CATA recognizing the achievement and a monetary prize sponsored by the association. The honour was presented to Miller during CATA’s award ceremony in June 2021. 

Miller is the 10th consecutive Sheridan Athletic Therapy student to win this prestigious annual award – continuing a tradition of academic excellence that is fast becoming a hallmark of the program.  

“I’m honoured to receive this year’s Review Article Writing Award from the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association,” says Miller. “I couldn’t thank my professors enough for helping me in my research. They are all practicing therapists who have real-world experience, so their guidance and support were invaluable.” 

The review article was part of an independent research course Miller had taken in her final year at Sheridan. Students select a topic of their choice related to athletic therapy and critically examine the published literature to deepen their understanding of the topic. The goal of the course is to provide students with the skills to compose a comprehensive research review article in a specific area of health sciences.  

Eleanor Miller stands with arms crossed"By the end of the course, students learn how to identify, compare, and analyze the real-world applications of scientific methods in the field of rehabilitation sciences," explains Jacqueline Vandertuin, a professor from Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences – Athletic Therapy program. "This preparation prepares our students to tackle patients with problems and teaches them the importance of deepening their evidence informed skills to ultimately help the patient."

Each year, the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) accepts research and review article paper submissions from students enrolled in one of the eight accredited Athletic Therapy institutions across Canada, including Sheridan. The Review Article Writing Award consists of the student researching the literature related to a specific topic that is relevant and appropriate to the field of athletic therapy. Submissions are judged by a panel of active and former athletic therapists based on the originality of content and the quality of writing.

“For the past ten years, our Sheridan Athletic Therapy students have excelled and won the Review Article Writing Award,” says Vandertuin. “I’m very proud of Eleanor for winning it again this year and continuing to build up our reputation across Canada.”

Miller’s award-winning review article examines whether therapeutic exercise is an effective treatment to reduce and prevent pregnancy-related pelvic pain (PGP). Her review research suggests that therapeutic exercise can have positive results for individuals suffering from PGP, and she recommends further investigation consisting of larger sample sizes to identify specific exercise parameters.

"This award encourages students to engage with evidence-based research and methodologies, which is crucial in athletic therapy," Miller explains. "In my independent research class at Sheridan, not only did I learn the technical requirements of writing a review article, but also how to examine each piece of evidence critically."

I didn't feel like just a number at Sheridan. The Athletic Therapy program – with its staff, professors and placement supervisors – treated me as a colleague, creating an open environment that made it exciting and engaging to learn."

The research review course is one of many experiences at Sheridan that Miller credits for exposing her to new opportunities, and sharpening the critical skills needed in her field. As a student, she had the opportunity to work as a student athletic therapist for multiple college varsity teams in Ontario. 

“The on-site care experience and rehabilitation skills I obtained during my studies at Sheridan opened so many opportunities for me to demonstrate my abilities and strengths as an athletic therapist,” explains Miller. “This is why Sheridan was my first choice when I was applying for college. I knew the remarkable history of the program and the impressive line-up of alumni and professors.”

Eleanor Miller stands in front of Sheridan "S" on campusAfter graduating from the Athletic Therapy program in June 2021, she earned a position as an assistant athletic therapist for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks.

The Athletic Therapy program at Sheridan was the first of its kind in Canada. Since its inception in September 1973, over 1,500 students have graduated from the renowned program and established themselves in a diverse range of sports teams and organizations, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Raptors, Cirque du Soleil, and the National Ballet of Canada.

"I didn't feel like just a number at Sheridan," says Miller. "The Athletic Therapy program – with its staff, professors and placement supervisors – treated me as a colleague, creating an open environment that made it exciting and engaging to learn. I always knew that I was in good hands and Sheridan quickly became my home away from home."

As for the future, Miller says, " I love the work that I do, and my aspirations in the field of athletic therapy seem to change day by day because I keep learning new ways to help people. I’m not sure where I will end up but I’m excited to see where the profession takes me!” 

Images provided by Eleanor Miller

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