Physiotherapist Rick Celebrini is the man of the hour

Rick Celebrini takes pride in his current work as the physiotherapist to the Whitecaps FC. (Bob Frid- Vancouver Whitecaps)
Rick Celebrini takes pride in his current work as the physiotherapist to the Whitecaps FC. (Bob Frid- Vancouver Whitecaps)

Where would Steve Nash be without Rick Celebrini? This renowned physiotherapist comes with a long list of accomplishments that backs up his high-profile client list.

Celebrini is known for working on LA Lakers’ point guard Steve Nash, who calls Celebrini a “world-class physiotherapist.”

But his fast-paced job doesn’t stop there.

Celebrini is currently the physiotherapist and head of sports medicine and science for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

He may be a physiotherapist now, but Celebrini says that his background in sports and an ankle injury in his teens inspired his career choice.

How it all started

Celebrini saw physiotherapist Alex McKechnie after an ankle fracture, and sparked his interest in physiotherapy.

“I ultimately had a real passion and interest in it, and it just developed from there,” said Celebrini.

This spark caused Celebrini to pursue physiotherapy as a career.

During his schooling he played soccer for UBC, and played professionally for the Vancouver 86ers [now Whitecaps] for five years after university, and says coming back to work in Vancouver was a “no-brainer” for him.

“It’s a sport that I love and the club I used to play for in the city I grew up in,” Celebrini said.

Rick Celebrini. (Bob Frid- Vancouver Whitecaps)
Rick Celebrini. (Bob Frid- Vancouver Whitecaps)

Celebrini’s first major event as a physiotherapist was the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where he worked with the ski team and calls “a phenomenal experience.”

“That was a fantastic experience. Especially coming out of school and being with an elite group like that and traveling on the road, and just the opportunity to really . . . accelerate my learning,” Celebrini said.

Although Celebrini’s past experiences have been high-profile, he doesn’t let that change the way he does business.

“I enjoy working with the amateur U-16 soccer player, male or female, as much as I do the NBA basketball player, or [the Whitecaps],” Celebrini said. “When we have them in our environment, they’re all the same.”

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