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National Athletic Training Month

Every March is National Athletic Training Month – a time to spread awareness about the work of an athletic trainer and to celebrate the profession. 

In case you’re wondering what an athletic trainer does or where you might see them in action, this blog post will help you better understand this profession – and may debunk some myths along the way.

Athletic Trainers Are Health Care Professionals

Athletic trainers work to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries and related illnesses. They are an essential part of a health care team, offering a continuum of compassionate care under the direction and in collaboration with physicians.

You may hear athletic trainers referenced to as “trainers.” This can be misinterpreted, and athletic trainers confused with personal trainers or strength-and-conditioning coaches instead of medical professionals. To encourage clarity, make sure you address athletic trainers properly.

More Than Taping And Ice

You may see athletic trainers taping ankles prior to a sporting event or applying ice to an athlete’s injury, but this is a very small part of their job. Athletic trainers work tirelessly to:

  • Develop and coordinate injury-prevention programs
  • Assess an injury and determine appropriate care
  • Design rehabilitation plans for injured patients and determine their readiness to return to sport or activity
  • Monitor weather and environmental conditions to ensure safety
  • Create and execute emergency action plans, since ATs are often the first responder on the scene
  • Be the vital communicator between physician, parent, patient, coach, and/or employer through every part of the injury or illness, while abiding with HIPAA and FERPA regulations

Athletic Trainers Save Lives

Injuries and illnesses can be serious and sometimes life threatening, and without proper recognition and care they can have devastating outcomes. Athletic trainers are skilled and equipped to treat acute, traumatic injuries and illnesses including but not limited to: 

  • Head and spinal-cord injuries
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Shock
  • Heat and exertional illnesses
  • Diabetic emergencies
  • Asthma attacks and allergic reactions
  • Fracture and dislocation care/splinting 

Having an athletic trainer on site will help you rest easy, knowing that if a catastrophic event should occur, there’s a qualified medical professional ready to properly assess and handle the situation.

Not All Patients Wear Jerseys

One of the more common places to find an athletic trainer is in a setting such as a high school or university working with various sports and athletes; however, this is not the only place you may encounter them. Other settings that utilize the services and abilities of athletic trainers are: 

  • Industrial / occupational workplaces
  • Military
  • Performing arts
  • Physician’s practice, hospital or clinic
  • Public safety departments like fire and police. 
  • As the profession of athletic training continues to grow, so do the settings in which they are found.

Education Required For An Athletic Trainer

Academic curriculum and clinical training for athletic trainers follow the medical model through a CAATE-accredited program.

Athletic-trainer candidates must pass the Board of Certification (BOC) exam to obtain certification. Previously, athletic training was a four-year bachelor’s degree; now, all CAATE-accredited programs will be offered at the master’s level only.

Every two years, athletic trainers are required to complete Continuing Education Units to maintain their athletic training certification with the BOC.

SPO is proud to support the athletic-training profession. We recognize our athletic trainer, Amanda V., and we acknowledge the work of all athletic trainers around the world, and their contributions to health and wellness.

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