The UFV Cascades’ athletic therapy clinic is nestled in E building, down a hallway, followed by an immediate right. It’s run by Tyne Campbell, the lead athletic therapist.

Athletic therapists specialize in treating musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. They work both in the clinic for rehabilitation and injury treatment, and on the field for emergency care and advice for athletes. Some do so much more.

In April, Campbell won the Athletic Therapist’s Association of British Columbia’s athletic therapist of the month award. Campbell said she doesn’t know why. Anyone who’s watched her interact with her athletes knows exactly why.  

She exudes positive healing energy. From the way she talks about keeping athletes healthy to interacting with them as special individuals. Each athlete needs something different, and her practice isn’t only tender compassion, it’s as much motivational butt-kicking. Some athletes need both.

The clinic is where all athletes converge. In it, there’s constant activity — the clinic is an arena unto itself. At any given moment, another student or athlete might bounce through the door, already in mid-conversation with Campbell before fully entering the room. This kind of atmosphere is disarming.

Even describing the place as a clinic sounds far too, well, clinical. It’s as much a lounge and a classroom. It’s a safe environment for athletes to unwind, and a learning environment for her student trainers.

Campbell also oversees all of the student trainers. These are typically kinesiology students completing practicums, or shadowing for lower-level classes. Many of these students go on to become physiotherapists, chiropractors, and athletic therapists.

On one of her walls is “Clinic Jeopardy!,” which started out as a game for the student trainers. When things got slow, Campbell would ask questions and they’d get points for answering correctly. The game evolved now it lists questions in different categories, from nutrition to sprains and strains.

“The student trainers love it, and the athletes love it too. If they can answer more questions than the student trainers, they’re on top of the world,” she said.

In medicine, Campbell’s philosophy is to approach injuries holistically. That means you have to truly know the person you’re working with.

“These guys get treated as entertainment so much from the outsider community, it’s nice just to say in here, I’m taking care of you; in here you matter. You’re a person and not just a basketball player,” Campbell said.

“It’s so important to get to know the people you’re working with. I stress that as much as I can with my student trainers. It’s the difference between believing them when they say they don’t have a concussion and they actually do, versus trusting them enough to honestly say, ‘Yeah, okay, I’ve got a pretty severe headache, I think I should sit out.’”

This June, Campbell will have worked at UFV for five years. But before becoming an AT, she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know how.”

Campbell started university off in general studies, focusing on sciences. “I knew I kind of wanted to go that route,” she said.

One day at the gym, she saw two guys working out, and one helping the other stretch.

“So I went over and asked what they were doing, that sort of thing,” Campbell said. “He said, this is one of my hockey players, I’m the student therapist for the men’s hockey team.”

Campbell then went and talked with the program director. After that, she knew where to go. Now she’s working on a master of education at Simon Fraser. She already teaches in many ways at her clinic, teaching classes would broaden the amount of students she can impact.

She won’t admit it, but Campbell brings the life back to many of UFV’s athletes. When a minor knee injury can mean complete loss of identity, therapy is life-giving. Whether it’s working through a torn ACL protocol or taping minor strains, Campbell’s therapy practice is a staple of the UFV Cascades.