Contract Provider:

Albert Salopek, LAc ATC

Albert Salopek has been working in Sports Medicine as a Certified Athletic Trainer for almost two decades. To compliment his deep understanding of Western Sports Medicine, Albert holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a Licensed Acupuncturist.

Albert has been an injury consultant to the Oakland Raiders since 2001. During practices, home games and on the road for away games, he is there to assist in the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery from injuries. Starting for the 2017-2018 season, Albert will also be assisting the Golden Sate Warriors Sports Medicine Staff. He will be giving acupuncture treatments on days after games and occasionally traveling with to provide treatments on the road. In addition, Albert is also the Head Therapist for MMA Champion Gilbert Melendez and the El Niño Training Center, Team Woodenman Muay Thai and Skrap Pack fight team.

His additional experience includes working with athletes at all levels of competition. This includes high school sports, NCAA, San Francisco Spiders, San Francisco Demons, FIFA Women’s World Cup and USA Track & Field Oylmpic Team Trials. Albert is also an adjunct faculty member at San Jose State University Graduate Athletic Training Program.

Albert has been an athlete his entire life and understands what it takes to get back to competition. His competitive interests includes all aspects of combat sports with a focus in Muay Thai Kickboxing. In the past, he was an avid triathlete and completed Ironman Florida in 2003.


1. What is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)?

An ATC is a medical expert in preventing, assessing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Athletic Training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession and the AMA recommends ATC’s in every high school to keep America’s young athletes safe and healthy. Athletic trainers are found everywhere that there are physically active people. This includes secondary schools, college and universities, physical therapy clinics, doctor’s offices, industrial and corporate facilities, military and professional sports.

2. What is the difference between an ATC and a physical therapist?

As discussed in the above question, an ATC’s education is dealing strictly with athletic/orthopedic injuries. In addition, ATC’s are trained in triage, emergency catastrophic injuries and the assessment of illness. An ATC is considered a specialist within Orthopedics.

At minimum, it is required that a physical therapist earns a Bachelor Degree in physical therapy. However, most PT’s have a master’s level degree. There education incorporates all aspects of rehabilitation. This would include cardiovascular, stroke, geriatrics, neurological, in-patient and orthopedics. During their education, they complete a series of externships within the various areas of physical therapy. Upon graduation, the PT decides which setting they prefer.

3. What is the difference between an ATC and a personal trainer?

At minimum, it is required that an ATC earn a Bachelor Degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. The education uses a medical-based education model; athletic training students are educated to serve in the role of physician extenders, with an emphasis on clinical reasoning skills. Educational content is based on cognitive, psychomotor, affective competencies and clinical proficiencies.

A personal trainer does not require a bachelor’s degree. A personal trainer can become certified through various organizations after completing a series of weekend courses. Their education does not include recognition, assessment, managing and rehabilitating athletic injuries.

4. What are the benefits of seeing an ATC?

Athletic trainers can help you avoid unnecessary medical treatment and assist in disruption of normal daily life. If you are injured, they can accelerate your bodies healing mechanisms and keep you on the go. Outcomes data from a current nation-wide study show:

  • Athletic Training methodology is effective in treating musculo-skeletal injuries at all body locations
  • Athletic training methods produce excellent overall outcomes with returning individuals to their pre-injury status
  • Patient satisfaction rates are above 96% when treatment is provided by an ATC
  • Rehabilitation provided by ATC’s significantly improves the functional status of patients following reconstructive surgery

5. What is Sports Performance Care?

Sports Performance Care is the increased development of your particular sport. This is for individuals that are interested in achieving more through athletics by increasing their movement efficiency, strength, power, speed, endurance and/or overall general conditioning. Various modalities are used in accomplishing these goals.

  • Biomechanical Analysis: looks at overall movement patterns of your particular sport to ensure proper mechanics and movement efficiency
  • Video Analysis: allows for a deeper look at your mechanics of movement and efficiency
  • Muscular/Joint Assessment: assesses muscular imbalances and joint ranges of motion
  • Personalized Training Programs: designed home exercise programs for you to continue your workouts at home
  • Core Stability Training: Core stability is learning how to control the forces around your pelvis and spine. The majority of your total body strength comes from your trunk and torso. Therefore every movement of your extremities should begin from within your core and move outward to your extremities. You generate all your strength from the “core” and translate it to your legs to propel yourself forward or to your arms to project an object forward.

6. What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is an Oriental Body Work Therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tui Na uses the traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi through the meridians as its basic therapeutic orientation. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques Tui Na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body the naturally heal itself.

Tui Na methods include the use of hand techniques to massage soft tissue and acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow of Qi. External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments, and salves are also used to enhance therapeutic methods.

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7. What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a healing technique used in Asia by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument. It results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’, that will fade in 2 to 3 days. Raising ‘sha’ removes stagnation, which is considered pathogenic. This promotes normal circulation and allows normal metabolic processes to occur. From a western standpoint, it is a type of myofacial release.

8. What are the benefits of body work?

Body Work offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Massage has many physiological effects, such as:

  • Increasing circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
  • Stimulating the lymph system, the body’s natural defense, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.
  • Relaxing and softening injured and overused muscles.
  • Reducing spasms and cramping.
  • Increasing joint flexibility.
  • Reducing recovery time for strenuous workouts and eliminating subsequent pains of the athlete at any level.
  • Releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. For this reason, massage is being incorporated into treatment for chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain.
  • Reducing post-surgery adhesions and edema and reducing and realigning scar tissue after healing has occurred.
  • Improving range of motion and decreasing discomfort for patients with low back pain.
  • Relieving pain for migraine sufferers and decreasing the need for medication.
  • Providing exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reducing shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion.