What is a Certified Athletic Therapist?

CAT stands for ‘Certified Athletic Therapist’ and is the title given to Certified Athletic Rehabilitation Therapists.

To become an CAT you must have:

  1. An honors degree (NFQ level 8) in a field related to sports medicine with a minimum of 500 hours of related clinical experience.
  2. Be certified as an Emergency First Responder by PHECC (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council), the national statutory body for emergency care standards and education.
  3. Pass the ARTI certification examination which has a theory and a practical section. 70% is required in both sections to pass the examination.

This process is designed to ensure the highest standard of professional care for the patient.

How does an CAT differ from a physiotherapist?

The differences between an CAT and a Physiotherapist arise from the different training and backgrounds of the two professions. Physiotherapy is a broad-based health care profession that not only addresses musculoskeletal care of the physically active but also divides its attention among a number of diverse medical fields, including oncology, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, rheumatology, respiratory and neurological illnesses and burn injury.

CATs have an educational background specialised in the prevention, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation musculoskeletal injuries related to physical activities.

Services Provided by a CAT

Game Day

  • Pre match; Soft tissue work, taping, functional fitness testing.
  • On field first aid and emergency care.
  • Post match; Soft tissue work, first aid and brief injury assessments.

Injury Prevention

  • Pre participation musculoskeletal screening.
  • Injury prevention programmes.


  • Injury assessment.
  • Referral network which provides quick referral for imaging, orthotics, surgical examination etc.


  • Soft tissue work: Massage, Trigger point massage, Deep tissue massage, Myofascial release and Soft tissue release.
  • Manual Therapy: Mobilisations, etc
  • Ultrasound.
  • Interex pain management.
  • Electrical stimulation.
  • TENS.
  • Cryotherapy.
  • Laser
  • Heat treatment.


  • Strengthening programmes.
  • Flexibility programmes.
  • Stability & Core programmes.
  • Functional rehabilitation.
  • Sport specific return to full play.