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Breaking Barriers and Balancing Femininity: Jennifer Love's Journey in the Sports Industry

For Jennifer Love, she has always been heavily involved in sports. In her early life, she frequently played sports fostering a love for the industry. Her passion for sports transitioned into her dream career; an athletic therapist (AT). In high school, Jennifer was driven, determined to reach her goal of one day becoming an AT.

Courtesy of Jennifer Love

In 2014, Jennifer enrolled in the Fitness and Health Promotion at St. Clair College. The fitness and health promotion program focuses on equipping students with the knowledge and tools required for health and fitness professionals. At St. Clair College, Jennifer took courses like fitness business essentials, exercise anatomy & physiology as well as exercise prescription. Following the completion of her program, Jennifer continued her education at Sheridan College where she earned her Bachelors of Applied Science - Athletic Therapy. Rounding off her education in 2020, she was certified Athletic Therapist by the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association.

With her dedication to her goal, her education wasn’t her only tactic to reach success. Love also was involved in many positions outside of collegiate opportunities. Notably, Love worked with the Toronto Marlies for almost two years while working to earn her athletic therapy certification. With the Marlies, Love was the right hand man to the team's athletic therapist, Jordan Aube. She also had the opportunity to work alongside the high-performance coach as well as the strength and conditioning coach. Love also provided on-ice coverage during practices as well as assisted the strengthening and conditioning coach with implementing team workouts.

Courtesy of Jennifer Love

During her time with the Toronto Marlies, Love also launched her own business, “Love Fitness Training and Athletic Therapy.” Love is the founder of her business and has a goal of “helping you reach your health and fitness goals whether they are returning to sport or being able to walk down the street.” At her business, Love uses her knowledge of anatomy, exercise physiology and rehabilitation to create exemplary exercise programs for her clients as well as for group training classes. Through her business, Love was also able to create the “Empower Her” apparel brand. Click here to check out the “Empower Her” apparel brand as well as the rest of what “Love Fitness Training and Athletic Therapy” has to offer.

Love’s hardwork and dedication helped her land her dream job in 2021 with OHL team Sarnia Sting. In 2021, Love was hired by the Sarnia Sting as the team's Head Athletic Therapist. For the past two seasons, Love has done everything from providing on-ice and off-ice emergency care, assessments as well as management to OHL athletes and implementing rehabilitation programs for injured athletes to establishing strong relationships with health care professionals to organize care for athletes.

Courtesy of Jennifer Love

Through years of hard work, Love has extremely helpful insights about succeeding in a field that might not always be rooting for you. Something Love notes as being particularly integral to succeeding in the sport industry from the perspective of being a woman is setting boundaries within the workplace. As an example, Love discussed boundaries within relationships with athletes. Through working with male athletes throughout her career, she notes it is important to have some type of bond with them in order to properly work with them as their AT but also just to foster a positive work environment. She does this by having a comedic back and forth banter with them. However, when joking or interacting with players it is important that if someone says something outside of your boundaries or that makes you uncomfortable, you correct the behaviour. Once you set your boundaries, stick to them. Don’t let anyone push your boundaries.

Another aspect that Love preaches its importance when you're a woman in sports is maintaining your femininity. Many women in sports are probably familiar with the feeling of losing aspects of your femininity when working in sports as you're immersed in a male dominated and masculine-centric environment, but Love states the importance of not losing that part of yourself. For her that means doing makeup for work or making sure they order womens clothing as well when placing team clothing orders. However, maintaining your femininity may mean something completely different for you and it's important you find that.

Courtesy of Jennifer Love

Jennifer Love's story is one of perseverance, skill, and passion. Her journey serves as an inspiration to not only aspiring athletic therapists but all women in the sports industry, showcasing that with dedication, education, and self-empowerment, one can overcome obstacles and thrive in their chosen field.

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