Though she’s the product of a West Indian-born father, athletic therapist Candice Thomas admits she knew nothing about the sport of cricket until she interned two years ago at the Star Therapy Centre in Maraval, Trinidad.
She spent seven weeks at the facility working under the watchful eye of physiotherapist Asha DeFreitas who provided therapy at the time for several West Indian players, including Dwayne Bravo, Adrian Barath, Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard.
“It’s funny, but everybody was making a big fuss about these guys and I had no idea why,” said Thomas. “As far as I was concerned, they were just another patient…It was only after Asha gave me their files and I started to treat them did I get to know who they were and what they did. They were very professional and very well developed athletes.”
Thomas’ exposure to the sport while in T & T and a referral, by a national senior team member who enjoys a healthy relationship with her best friend’s father, led to Cricket Canada recruiting her to help the junior team prepare for the Under-19 Youth World Cup that starts in New Zealand tomorrow.
She accompanied the team that was in St. Kitts last month for a 10-day training camp.
She is now in New Zealand with the national junior team.
Thomas graduated from Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences program specifically designed to provide graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience to become Canadian Athletic Therapy Association-certified athletic therapists.
They are provided with advanced skills in athletic therapy, including field assessment and injury treatment and clinical assessment and rehabilitation for all types of injures; entrepreneurial business skills to help them establish a practice; research skills to ensure they always stay current in the field and 1200 hours of embedded athletic course experience while in school.
The program integrates 50 per cent practical, hands-on field and clinical experience with 50 per cent lecture and lab work.
Prior to going to T & T, Thomas interned at the University of California, Riverside.
She plans to pursue a Masters in Athletic Training and work as a trainer with a professional sports team, preferably in the National Football League. Her favourite pro team is the NFL’s Pittsburg Steelers.
Thomas says she is happy with the progress the national youth cricketers have made since she started working with them last October.
“They had a lot of trouble with speed, agility and quickness,” said Thomas, whose father, Victor, retired from the Toronto Police Service last fall after 37 years. “With the help of circuit training and some other drills, they have improved in this area. Also, their hand-eye coordination is much better now.”