Sports physical therapist from New Jersey serves position for Canadian men's field hockey team
Olympic athletes aren't the only ones training hard for their events -- the sports doctors caring for them also go through a difficult selection process to reach the games.
“Once you realize you're never going to make the pros, you think, OK what am I going to do instead of that,” says Edison Au. “As a therapist, my goal would be to work with the pros or to work at a high level and obviously the Olympics is one of the highest levels.”
The former rugby player turned sports physical therapist is based out of TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, but will serve as the dedicated therapist for the Canadian men's field hockey team.
“Just like athletes, we have to be able to perform under stress, know how to manage situations like injuries, manage the clock, manage replacements, how to talk to the coach and all these things are time and tested as you get through these levels,” says Au.
Au's ties to the Canadian national teams began when he was a physical therapy student in Toronto in 2005. He was able to punch his ticket to Tokyo thanks to his skillset, a change in national team hierarchy, a pandemic and a little luck.
“Because they were so desperate and could only pick from a pool of long listed people, they just saw my name was available and said you know what, he’s got the experience and he's got the skill set we're looking for,” says Au.
Au has previously worked with Rugby Canada and Wrestling Canada, and was even the host therapist for figure skating at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But Au says Olympic field hockey will have higher stakes.
“This is like high stress, like projectiles, sticks being tossed at people, you can really get hurt so that's where the experience comes in,” says Au. “So, you have to be able to deal with that.”
Now that he's in Tokyo, Au says he has the same mentality as the athletes.
“I want to be able to leave there and saying that I gave my all and I did my best possible and hopefully a great outcome comes about, but just like the Olympics, like if you do your best and you do your best, you can leave proud,” says Au.
Olympic field hockey is currently in pool play.