Daniel Garcia — Board Member

My name is Daniel Garcia, and I am from Dallas, Texas. I currently work for the National Hockey League (NHL) Dallas Stars as their team sports massage therapist. I completed four seasons with the team and am fortunate to enjoy another this year, despite COVID-19.

My goal in becoming an AMTA-Texas board member is to assist in the forward progression of the massage therapy profession. I hope that my years of experience can help aide in decisions regarding the Texas chapter. This is my first board position and I am very excited to serve the community that has given me so much. That said, there is a small learning curve on expectations and requirements. I am fully up for the challenge and plan on using my positive attitude and energy to help. As many will find out, I am an open book so feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

My massage career began in 1994. First, I managed chiropractic rehabilitation centers while learning many career-oriented skills.

Following a sports chiropractic clinic, I began to work with Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Sports Medicine Department as their Active Release Techniques provider and Sports Massage therapist.

Second, I developed a private practice called Function Care to provide soft-tissue recovery treatments for a diverse population. The clinical setting allowed me to experience a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. I worked with athletes ranging from high school to the professional level. I developed a passion for teaching to improve my skills and give back to the profession. I applied to be an Active Release Techniques instructor and made it through the most elite providers’ rigors. Moreover, this fostered a skill to develop further elite providers across the country.

My interest has always been in sports performance and sports recovery, which has encouraged me to pursue specific sports-related courses throughout my career. I have taken all Active Release Techniques courses and continue to remain certified. Subsequently, I have taken Sports Biomechanics courses. I am a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist with Fascial Stretch Therapy and certified in kinesiology taping. I am a Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, my status has me traveling with the Dallas Stars professional hockey team in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The NHL choose two cities to act as the “hub-city” or “bubble,” Toronto and Edmonton. Interestingly, the safety procedures were consistent and effective in helping players to remain healthy. The NHL implemented several additional healthcare protocols to prevent the spread of infection. Routine temperatures are shown to compliance officers, and staff members are tested daily with either a nasal swab or throat swab.

The staff consists of two athletic trainers (ATC), one strength and conditioning coach (CSCS), the equipment manager, and me. With several long nights or early mornings throughout the season, and constant travel, we all work together to accomplish a common goal.

To sum up a day of a pro-hockey team sports medicine staff member, morning preparation can consist of treating athletes on game day to treating athletes to prevent an injury. Post practice, athletes can receive a massage for recovery.  With the amount of research on sleep as a recovery method, we have integrated time for athletes to receive a massage before taking a mid-day nap (3-4 hrs).

Moreover, on game day, players start arriving three hours pre-game for a similar performance and activation intervention. The intervention consists of active/passive stretching, muscle activation techniques, and corrective exercises. Every athlete has a customized training plan and recovery plan. If an athlete is dealing with a severe injury, we will collaborate on treatment interventions and protocols.

In short, the day is truly diverse. The equipment is unique to the professional athlete’s position and playing style. The environment keeps me engaged and eager to see the results of their performance on the ice.

In Health,

Daniel Garcia, LMT, ART, FST, CES