Do you need to be paid professionally to chase a ball around a field in order to be considered an athlete? Do you need to be part of an organized team? Is special equipment or a rule book required to justify whether you have the heart of a champion?
Or do you suppose being an athlete is all about mindset and physical activity? Maybe your work is your sport. If you work 12 hours a day on your feet as a nurse or in construction are you less of a physical specimen because you don’t lift weights in the gym? If you hike or canoe or shoot a bow and arrow are you less of an athlete than someone that plays in an organized arena? Age does NOT dictate your athlete status.
Athletes need special care for injuries and chronic pain. We have completely different needs than a regularly sedentary patient. Whether you are recovering from surgery, have a chronic condition or you have a performance driven goal, athletes have a completely different needs when it comes to healing.