CLINTON, S.C. – The
Presbyterian College athletics department staff would like to take the time to
thank the athletic training staff as this month has been deemed National
Athletic Training Month by NATA.
This year’s tagline, established by NATA, is “Health Care for Life and Sport.” It emphasizes the medical component of the athletic training profession while recognizing the array of athletic training work settings.
Definition of an Athletic Trainer
An Athletic Trainer is a person who meets the qualifications set by the Board of Certification, InC. and/or a state regulartory board. He/she practices athletic training under the direction of a physician. Their duties include providing physical medicine and rehabilitation services; preventing, assessing and treating injuries (acute and chronic); coordinating care with physicians and other allied health providers.
Becoming an Athletic Trainer:
There are athletic training/sports medicine undergraduate programs and entry level masters programs to begin the initial studies in the field. Classes include evaluation of injuries, modalities, anatomy, physiology, therapeutic rehabilitation and every program requires hands-on time working in different environments from clinics to athletic practice/games. An athletic trainer does not have to have a masters or doctoral degree, but if they choose to they can further their education by pursuing one or both. Some athletic trainers have dual certifications as a strength and conditioning coach or as a physical therapist. In order to practice as an ATC (Athletic Trainer Certified) they must sit for a national certification test.
An athletic trainer can be employed in many different settings. Secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, industrial settings, the military, and other healthcare environments can all have athletic trainers as part of their Sports Medicine team.
The Sports Medicine Team:
The Athletic Trainer does not work alone. Regardless of the setting in which they practice, they are part of a team. This team includes doctors, physicians, surgeons, nurses, MRI/X-ray technicians as well as physical therapists, psychologists, and nutritionists.
The Athletic Trainers Role:
The sports medicine team works to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of the injury. The ATC usually performs the initial evaluation whether it is on the game field or in the athletic training room. They then proceed with appropriate treatment and referrals, if needed. The Athletic Trainers education in the use of modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, lasers, whirlpools, ice and heat aids in early treatment and pain management. In addition to modalities, the athletic trainer has a broad knowledge of physical rehabilitation exercises that allows them to start work with the very basic abilities of the injured (post injury or surgery) all the way up to their return to play skills.