ETOBICOKE – Former athlete and alumna, Michelle Noorenberghe, is using her personal experience with sports injuries to help others work through their own rehabilitation.
Noorenberghe arrived at Humber’s North Campus in the fall of 2012 as a student in the Kinesiology program at the University of Guelph-Humber. She immediately got involved in sports and recreation by joining a number of intramural and extramural sport programs on campus.
As a regular participant in intramural hockey, ball hockey and volleyball, Noorenberghe was able to meet and interact with a number of other students with similar interests and a variety of skill levels. “It helped me to join other school communities, like the GH “START” Orientation team, by connecting with my peers.” When reflecting on her time with the women’s extramural hockey team, she said, “It kept me healthy and it kept me on a schedule. [It] also contributed significantly to a positive mental health state.”
With commitment and experience in a number of programs, Noorenberghe was hired as a student employee in the Athletics Department in the fall of 2013. She was able to put her previous experience as an ice hockey official to use as an intramural ball hockey official, as well as holding student roles as a Residence Night Coordinator and as Office Assistant in Campus Recreation and Athletic Therapy in subsequent years.
Noorenberghe represented Humber as a varsity rugby athlete for two seasons, winning a provincial silver medal in 2013 and gold in 2014, and as a member of the extramural women’s hockey team for three seasons, winning Fair Play Team of the Year twice during that time. She was presented with the Coaches’ Award at the end of the 2013-2014 hockey season for her dedication and commitment to the program, and to her teammates, and was named the team’s captain for the following season. As part of that season’s leadership group, she helped to plan the very successful 2015 Provincial Challenge Cup that Humber hosted.
In that third year of studies, Noorenberghe suffered a concussion that ultimately caused her to miss the provincial hockey event that she had worked towards, and ultimately retire from competitive sport. She recalls her injury -- “The side effects of it were both physical and mental challenges for me. But I realized that adversity only makes you stronger.”
After recovering from that significant injury, and a number of others sustained during her years as an avid athlete, she began to consider treating injuries as a career path. Noorenberghe had training experience and the knowledge of basic treatments from her Kinesiology program and from her own experience with her varsity rehabilitation. She saw value in helping others through their own recovery process.
After graduating from the University of Guelph-Humber’s Kinesiology program, Noorenberghe enrolled in the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy and received her diploma in 2018. She found work as a Registered Massage Therapist and began teaching in the field. She also returned to Humber’s women’s hockey program as an Assistant Coach for one season.
Noorenberghe has since moved back to her hometown of Delhi, Ontario where she opened her own massage therapy business in early 2020. She enjoys spending time with her family as well as biking, yoga and recreational hockey, and looks forward to expanding her business in the future.