By Robyn Doolittle
Banged and bruised Ryerson dancers are tired of travelling across Toronto for physiotherapy –especially since there is a facility on campus.
“All I wanted was for someone to look at it,” said first-year dance student Caitlin Adams, referring to the time she hurt her ankle after landing wrong out of a jump about two weeks ago. After icing, wrapping and medicating the injury, Adams hoped she could see a school physiotherapist. She was told she needed to call the Ryerson Health Centre instead.
“I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I’m from Hamilton and I almost went home,” said Adams. “Dancers have just as much right and need of the therapy as the athletes, and I pay just as much tuition as any of them.”
Currently, the university’s physiotherapy clinic is exclusively for varsity athletes.
At one time dancers had access to treatment, but eventually it became too expensive for the athletic department to accommodate them, and ultimately the program was cut.
“We’ve looked at the possibility of providing the service (again), but the dancers would need to pay a charge at the beginning of the year and that would provide them with [a certain] number of visits,” said David Dubois, the director of sports and recreation. “We couldn’t provide it for free because we just don’t have the money.”
Dance program director Nadia Potts made an attempt a few years ago to get the physiotherapy for her students, but she received little help from the dancers. As a result, the idea was dropped.
“It would be great if the students got involved and formed a committee with representatives,” said Potts. “Then they can decide what is needed. Then they can approach me with it.”
Ashley Summers, a second-year dance student, said she would be interested in joining such a committee.
“Dance is a very physical program, and it just seems logical that the school would provide the assistance since it is available on campus. I’m sure most of us would be fine with paying a fee similar to what the athletes are paying,” Summers said.
Perry Schneiderman, chair of the theatre school, said the theatre budget is too tight right now to help offset any of the costs it would take to provide students with treatment.
“We have a great rapport with the RAC, and I am open to discussing the idea [of providing physiotherapy],” said Schneiderman. “Students know I have an open door policy and I encourage those interested to come speak with me.”
Varsity athletes pay a $65 fee at the beginning of the season, which also covers their RAC membership, but the physiotherapy costs come largely out of the yearly athletic budget.
Each athlete signs an eligibility waiver at the beginning of the season that allows Ryerson therapists to treat their injuries. According to Dubois, liability is a big reason why dancers are not permitted to use the facility.
The physiotherapy clinic is located on the second floor of Kerr Hall North.