KinRec Connect: Melissa Deonaraine, 2009
Each month, we feature an alum from our faculty in a Q&A entitled KinRec Connect. We’ve asked 2009 Bachelor of Kinesiology-Athletic Therapy alumna Melissa Deonaraine to share her experiences as a student, and to fill us in on her life after U of M.
What year did you graduate from U of M and what was your degree/major?
Spring 2009 – Bachelor of Kinesiology, major in Athletic Therapy (AT).
Could you tell us a little about your career since you graduated? What’s your current position, and what do you like best about your current position?
Passed my national certification with the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association in June 2010, then worked as a Certified Athletic Therapist at a couple of clinics in Winnipeg prior to starting up my own private practice in August 2014, Academy Athletic Therapy.
I have also been a service provider with the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba since 2011.
I work long hours which can be mentally and emotionally exhausting depending on the day. Despite that, I enjoy being in the clinic because my patients are great people I enjoy interacting and getting to know. Patients come through the front door looking forward to their appointment and leaving feeling better, can’t get any better than that. The clinic feels like home, a place you can be yourself so there are times we are singing songs out loud, dancing to the Macarena, YMCA, etc., watching cartoons with preschool patients while they get treatment and most often working out doing the same exercises with the patients because it’s all one-on-one time quality time.
I have been a medical practitioner working with Olympians at major events such as the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup where I was the lead therapist for the Winnipeg location, 2015 Pan Am Games (Toronto) with aquatics, modern pentathlon and fencing, 2015 ParaPan Am Games (Toronto) with para-athletics (met Winnipegger Michelle Stillwell who is a 7x paralympic medalist and many interesting individuals), and 2017 Summer Universiade as a therapist with Team Canada Men’s Volleyball.
“I’ll know I’ll make it to the Olympics some day as a medical staff.”
I was also the recipient of the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association for “The Greatest Impact” award in 2017 for National Athletic Therapy Month.
How did your time as a student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management help in your career and personal goals?
Finding a balance between university courses, studying, exercising, working, clinic and field placements, not to mention having a personal life and maybe have some fun.
Jackie Elliott (program director) challenged each and every student to become better than who we were before being accepted in the faculty. Jackie helped students in her free time prepare for the national exam (four-hour written, three-hour practical: 1.5 hours clinic and 1.5 hours field – seven hours total completed over two days) helping us to fine tune our skills.
“I’m grateful I had the experiences I did in the faculty because I wouldn’t be the professional I am today.”
What were some of your greatest challenges as a student, and what were some of your best experiences?
Challenges: learning how to be strong and confident with the numerous skills I was expected to learn. Fourth year was the most challenging.
- First day in the AT program being told to make a friend because we were learning how to massage using each other to practice on
- Studying anatomy with cadavers at Basic Medical Sciences at the Bannatyne campus (my year was the last group to have courses split between both campuses)
- AT faculty “big brother/sister, little brother/sister” program was a blast getting to know the older students and them showing us the ropes round both campuses but helping out when they could if we had questions
What advice would you give to current students and students interested in studying athletic therapy?
Never stop learning; keep those thick, heavy textbooks after you’ve certified because there’s only so much you can fit in your head.
To anyone who says there aren’t jobs as an Athletic Therapist: I started my private practice in 2014 and have 400 patients from word of mouth, networking, social events, marketing and social media ranging from 4 – 83 years old. Trust in yourself and keep that fire burning under your bottom.
Each challenge, obstacle you face right now will help you to become the strong, confident and knowledgeable professional you dream of becoming.