Clinical Practice Area: Sport
Years in Practice: 33
Areas of Interest: Discovering what is the underlying cause of peoples complaints and determining their differential diagnosis - thorough assessment to look at biomechanical factors affecting movement and dysfunction, manual therapy to improve joint and muscle function, IMS and exercise programs to bring patients back to their functional levels - special interest in recreational and elite athletes (especially running, swimming, gymnastics, rugby, dancers, divers).
Why did you pursue the designation?
I have been following the profession's quest for specialist status for many years, possibly decades, and have always felt this was an important step in our professional development. There are many of us with extensive post graduate education and expertise that needs to be identified to elevate our presence in the medical community. I think the designation helps to elevate awareness and appreciation of our profession to the medical community and the public, and also provides mentorship for other physiotherapists in our communities.
Where do you hope to see the profession in 25 years?
During my career, I have seen enormous gains in our independence and scope of practice. We have gone from being directed by physicians to primary care providers. Our knowledge is highly regarded by physicians and patients who come into contact with us and I hope to see this trend continuing. I would like to see our scope of practice and areas of practice increase so physiotherapists can become the primary care provider of choice for the general population for many conditions. We can relieve the physician "shortage" in many areas by taking on this primary care role in our areas of speciality throughout the communities in various facilities.
What's the best advice you ever received?
Don't believe what people tell you and figure it out for yourself!
Leigh first discovered her passion for sport physiotherapy while working at the 1981 Canada Summer Games. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Leigh went on to complete the Orthopaedic Division Diploma and the Sport Physiotherapy Canada Diploma. She continued to expand her professional development by becoming an examiner for the SPC credentialing program, serving on the Board of Directors for SPC, the Sport Medicine Council of Alberta, the Alberta Physiotherapy Association, and the college of Physical Therapists of Alberta over a 15 year span. Leigh was also chosen to travel with the Canadian Medical team to 4 Olympic games, 3 Pan AM Games and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
Leigh continues to work with rugby teams and has expanded her role by coaching junior players. While her competitive background is swimming, Leigh has completed several marathons, triathlons (including the 1993 Ironman) and presently focuses on swimming and running trail ultramarathons. She is married and has 2 active daughters and 2 dogs who love to run by her side!