What is an Athletic Trainer?
The certified athletic trainer (ATC) is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the ATC functions as an integral member of the athletic healthcare team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, industrial settings and other healthcare environments.
It's incorrect to call them "trainers"
If you do this, you are not distinguishing between certified athletic trainers and a number of other professions that include the word "trainer," like personal trainers or horse trainers. If you don't want to use the full name "certified athletic trainer," use "athletic trainer" or, best of all, "ATC."
They are allied health professionals
In fact, the American Medical Association recognizes athletic training as an allied healthcare profession and recommends the use of ATCs in all high school athletic programs. The certified athletic trainer is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the ATC functions as an integral member of the athletic healthcare team.
It's not an overwhelmingly male profession. According to 1999 statistics, 46 percent are female.
Certified athletic trainers have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree, usually in athletic training, health, physical education, or exercise science. In addition, athletic trainers study human anatomy, human physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, athletic training, nutrition, and psychology/counseling. Certified athletic trainers also participate in extensive clinical affiliations with athletic teams under appropriate supervision.
Certified athletic trainers have fulfilled the requirements for certification established by the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification (NATABOC). The certification examination administered by NATABOC consists of a written portion with multiple choice questions; an oral/practical section that evaluates the skill components of the domains within athletic training; and a written simulation test, consisting of athletic training related situations designed to approximate real-life decision making. This last portion of the test evaluates athletic trainers' ability to resolve cases similar to those they might encounter in actual practice. The examination covers a variety of topics within the six practice domains of athletic training:
• Recognition, Evaluation, and Assessment
Treatment, Rehabilitation and Reconditioning
Organization and Administration
Professional Development and Responsibility
Once athletic trainers pass the certification examination to prove their skills and knowledge within each of the six domains, they are awarded the designation "ATC."
What is a typical day for an Athletic Trainer?
Before practice, the athletic trainer tapes, bandages, wraps, braces, and completes similar preventive measures.
During practice, the athletic trainer evaluates injuries and determines whether to refer athletes to a physician or follow standing orders and manage minor injuries. The athletic trainer must ensure continual communication between the injured athlete, physician, coach, and family on when and how the athlete can return to practice and competition.
As specialists in the prevention, recognition, and rehabilitation of injuries incurred by athletes, athletic trainers administer immediate emergency care and-under the supervision a licensed physician-use their knowledge of the injuries incurred by the physically active individual and the factors influencing them to develop a treatment program based on medical, exercise, and sports sciences.