Championing recovery: athlete empowerment with Rebecca Kuresh

Kamloops Blazers athletic therapist discusses finding purpose through heartache and pain

In the sports arena, success is often accompanied by an account of perseverance and recovery. The role of the athletic therapist arises as one who assists in that process. Rebecca Kuresh’s story is about the emergence of a young dancer who, sidelined by injuries, rose to become a compassionate athletic therapist dedicated to empowering athletes through their recovery process after injuries.

“I kind of took the long way around,” Kuresh said, reflecting on her journey to Athletic Therapy. Kuresh started her journey during her undergraduate years at the University of British Columbia, where she studied Kinesiology. This was followed by two consecutive years of Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University. Her motivations for her studies were beyond scholarly pursuits and were firmly rooted in a deeply personal account.

“I was a dancer growing up, and l was always injured. It kind of ended my dancing career,” Kuresh told the Omega. For Kuresh, experiencing the loss of her career ignited her profound compassion for other athletes circumnavigating similar complex injuries she had previously encountered.

“l think having that perspective on being a high-level athlete and being injured, not always knowing what was wrong with me, kind of inspired me to want to help athletes in similar situations,” Kuresh said.

Fondly drawing on inspiration from her father as her role model, Kuresh added that her own worldview was shaped by his logical approach to different situations and his love for sports. Reflecting on her early formative years, Kuresh added that when she was younger, her father would take her “to hockey games” and that they “always watched hockey games [together].”

In the past, Kuresh worked with the Drumheller Dragons and Canmore Eagles. Today, her role revolves around assisting athletes with injury assessment, emergency response and rehabilitation for the Kamloops Blazers. Kuresh’s approach goes beyond physical assistance; it also includes assessing mental readiness to get back on the ice after an injury.

“If they are constantly thinking about the injury on ice and they are worried about getting hurt again, then that’s a reason that I would hold someone back,’’ Kuresh said. She encourages athletes to prepare well, sleep well, hydrate, warm up properly and take accountability for their own bodies in order to keep on going.

As an athletic therapist, Kuresh finds fulfillment in the success stories she has seen and contributed to, including but not limited to athletes getting scholarships for university, empowering others to recover from setbacks due to injuries, and athletes being “drafted to the NHL.”

Of all the stories she could tell, Kuresh told the Omega that one about a hockey player “who was injured right at the end of his season and needed surgery” stood out the most. As a result of Kuresh’s rehabilitation efforts, not only was the athlete able to fully recover and resume their sporting career, but he also earned a scholarship to study in the United States. Being able to contribute to the transformative process from being injured to reaching new heights in sports demonstrates Kuresh’s profound work in assisting athletes to the next level of their journey.

Ellen Kazembe can be reached at