What did you do yesterday?

Yesterday was Saturday. Yesterday, I had to use skills I had practiced for hundred of hours, and re-certify every 3 years. Yesterday, I went on auto-pilot and let my hands do the work. Yesterday, myself and a fellow Athletic Therapist did exactly what Athletic Therapists are trained to do. Yesterday, I did what I hoped I would never have to do, and hope I never have to do again.

Yesterday, I helped save a life.

After a relatively quiet day on the rugby pitch (for those who know rugby, there is never a “quiet” day for a rugby AT, as injuries are all too common), I heard the dreaded call “trainer” then again “TRAINERS”… this time plural. It was the referee calling for not just one but both teams Athletic Therapists to come and assist a player in distress on the field. I knew by him calling both of us, it was not a simple ankle sprain or muscle cramp.

While I cannot give much detail regarding the athlete, as per the Personal Health Information Protection Act in Ontario, I can discuss what I felt and hope that others too can learn just how valuable those first few seconds are.

As I ran onto the field, my heart was racing. I the other team’s AT already assessing the athlete, we both knew this was a critical event… I took a deep breath and activated the EAP (Emergency Action Plan) where a pre-determined by-standard was told to call EMS. I would like to say I remember every detail of what happened next, but it is a blur… a slow motion blur where both myself, the other AT and a CPR trained by-standard each took our specific roles of assessing the ABCs (airways, breathing and circulation) and checking other vital signs, all while maintaining c-spine alignment. We checked, re-checked, things were not as they should be. We had to start a cycle of CPR and maintain ABCs until the AED arrived. It was there before we even had to ask, thanks to an observant teammate.

I will not forget how the AED’s plastic activation button felt through my medical gloves, the sound of the automated voice and how it was the same voice as I heard in my hundreds of hours of training. It was oddly calming. We continued with CPR while the wail of a nearby siren rang out, but this did not stop what we were doing, we continued until paramedics stepped in. I was partially expecting them to take over, as they often do for emergencies but when I spoke up and said I was a First Responder, I was put to work and assisted EMS with maintaining an airway, transferring the athlete onto the gurney and into the ambulance.

Seconds later everyone was gone, no ambulance or fellow AT (as she had the athlete’s health information) I was left on the field, with only the remnants of the event around me… a forgotten fanny pack, used AED pads, packaging for OPAs (oral pharyngeal airways), and dozens of by-standards looking at me, patting by back and shaking my hand… but I was still in First Responder mode.  I don’t know what they were saying, but I knew they were speaking to me. I was numb. I needed a moment to process and so I stepped away. I took the time to breathe and let my heart rate (which was pounding) come back down to a normal resting rate. I tried to let the events that just transpired sink in… I am still trying to… but it is still surreal.

While it felt like the whole event took hours, it was only after a debrief with the other AT, we realized it was only minutes from the ref’s whistle until the athlete was in the ambulance headed for the nearest hospital. Like clockwork. No time for second thoughts, we reacted quickly, just as we were trained.

I do no write this to toot my own horn, or brag about some great feat that myself or the other AT accomplished. I write this to inform everyone on just how critical it is to have early access to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). I write this to bring light to how critical it is to have TRAINED side-line medical staff. I write this because I want people to know it could be your son, mother or neighbour out there next time needing help and I hope there is a Certified Athletic Therapist or CPR trained person with an AED ready to respond.

It is because there was an AED onsite, that myself and my fellow AT were able to use our skills to their greatest extent. Doctors say it was our early interventions that made the difference between this individual making it through or not. It was because a town committee agreed on one small thing, an AED onsite at a sports field, did this athlete have a chance at life off the pitch. It was because both ATs are passionate about our jobs and the athletes we work with, that we take the time to ensure our skills are up-to-date.

Tomorrow is Monday. Tomorrow I will go back to work rehabilitating sore shoulders, taping ankles and handing over water bottles to thirsty lacrosse players. Tomorrow I will do my job once again, this time changed… for the better.

Best Burger Ever

So you’ve cleaned up your diet, eliminated the fast food but are still wanting one of those mouthwatering burgers to satisfy that summer craving… Never fear here is a fail-safe recipe to satisfy that savoury need! Make this with a local twist by hitting up your local farmers market for your meat and eggs and if your thumb is green, give herb growing a shot for a delicious addition to your cooking!

Best Burger Ever!

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10-18 minutes
Serves 6-8


1 lb pasture raised ground pork

1 large pasture raised egg

2 TBSP dill

2 TBSP parsley

2 stalks green onion

1 TBSP coconut or avocado oil

Boston leaf lettuce (for “bun”)

  1. Chop dill, parsley, green onions equally. 
  2. Combine ground pork, egg and herbs and mix well. 
  3. Form into balls and flatten into evenly former patties and set aside on parchment paper. 
  4. Heat pan with coconut or avocado oil over medium heat. 
  5. When pan is hot, add burger patties to pan. 
  6. Cook 5-8 minutes each side (depending on burger thickness) and flip. 
  7. Cook another 5-8 minutes or until burger is cooked thoroughly. 
  8. Remove from heat and serve on a large leaf of Boston lettuce or your green of choice and dress as desired. 

Raspberry Crumble

Inspired by Diane Sanfillipo’s “Fresh blueberry crumble”, Balanced Bites, pg. 406.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30-40

Served 4-6


  • 2 pints fresh raspberries {modified from blueberries for addition IBS nutrition}
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup almond meal/almond flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil {avoid butter as recommended in original recipe}
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 pinches of sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place the raspberries in a 9 inch x 9 inch baking dish, and squeeze the juice from half of the lemon over them. Toss slightly to coat the raspberries with the juice.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the almond meal or almond flour, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Spread the nut topping evenly over the blueberries, and bake until the fruit is well cooked/bubbly and the topping is golden brown (approximately 30-40 minutes).

Spicy & Soothing Chai Tea “Latte”

Cook time: 35 minutes

Serves 4


  • 3 cups coconut or almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBSP loose rooibos tea
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp whole cardamom
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2/3 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup


  1. Simmer spices and waters together in covered pot for 30 minutes
  2. Add the almond/coconut milk and reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 more minutes
  3. Remove from heat and serve topped with a pinch of cinnamon and sweeten to taste with maple syrup

Rainbow Noodles with Roasted Red Peppers

Inspired by Oh My Veggies “Lemon-garlic zucchini noodles with roasted tomatoes”


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 TBSP + 2 TBSP avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 medium zucchini – spiralized into noodles
  • 2 medium carrots – spiralized into noodles
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 large clove of garlic – minced
  • 2 TBSP of toasted pine nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. De-seed and chop bell peppers into quarter-sized pieces. Mix together with 1 tablespoon avocado/olive oil, dried oregano and salt & pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast the peppers in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until the skins become soft and slightly wrinkled. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Spiralize your zucchinis and carrots as per instructions of your spiralizer. Place noodles in large serving dish and toss together with lemon zest, minced garlic 2 tablespoons of avocado/olive oil, roasted red peppers.
  4. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes


  • 1-2 sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. With a mandolin, slice sweet potatoes as thin as you can make the slices without them being transparent
  3. In a bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt so they are coated evenly but not drenched in oil
  4. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer
  5. Bake for 45 minutes in the oven or until crispy and flipping the chips over after 20 minutes
  6. Allow to cook on drying rack for added crispness after cooking

Protein Packed Olive & Mushroom Tapenade

Prep: 5 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup soaked almonds
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are coarsely and evenly chopped.
  2. Remove from food processor and transfer to dish. Serve with sliced cucumbers, celery and Crispy Sweet Potato Chips.