Two University of Texas legends from the NFL appeared before the House Public Health Committee this morning to testify for a bill that would allow people certified in so-called muscle activation technique, or MAT, to practice without a massage therapy license.
Kasey Studdard, a former UT football player who currently plays for the Houston Texans, said he’s used the treatment for 10 years. “It made my career go longer, made me perform at a higher level and it’s just something that I need to be able to go out on the field and perform at higher levels,” he said.
But physical and massage therapists testified that the bill would effectively allow any trainer to use massage techniques without a license, leaving them unaccountable to public health and safety laws.
Greg Roskopf, who designed MAT, called it “a process to optimize performance and get the most of out the muscular system.” He compared the technique to fixing the alignment on a car. His company offers a MAT certification program.
Janine Ray, from the Texas Association of Massage Therapists, said it’s a common practice for practitioners to combine techniques, rename the practice and create a certification program. But in reality, she said, MAT is no different from other advanced techniques that require a massage therapy license. "If every certification process were to become isolated or excluded from licensing in the state of Texas, we would have a ton of them,” she said.
But Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin and the author of the bill, said Colorado amended its massage therapy license laws in 2008 to exclude MAT practitioners, and has had no problems. Bo Scaife, a former UT tight end who currently plays for the Tennessee Titans, said the technique is valuable for everyone, not just athletes. “If I could just put it in one sentence, it’s definitely the answer to the problem before the problem exists,” he said.