What Is Athletic Training?

Authored by: Jason Arnett

When I say that I’m an Athletic Trainer, I usually get asked, “What exactly is that?” My quick reply, “you know when you’re watching a football game and someone gets hurt? The first person to run onto the field to tend to the injured athlete is the Athletic Trainer.” It’s my job to evaluate the athlete and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Do I need to stabilize the cervical spine and contact EMS? Can I safely remove the athlete from the field and perform a more thorough examination? Do I tape the injured area and return the athlete safely to competition or do I need to refer the athlete to a physician for further diagnostics?  Now this doesn’t fully explain what an Athletic Trainer is. So, the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) defines my profession as:

“…health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize patient and client activity and participation in athletics, work and life. The practice of athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination and diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emergent, acute, subacute, and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and certain medical conditions in order to minimize subsequent impairments, functional limitations, disability, and societal limitations.”

In the traditional sense, Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) have worked with sports teams (professional, collegiate, high school levels) to help keep the athletes on the field.  However, as the profession has grown, more employers are seeing the benefits of employing ATC’s. As a result, you will see ATC’s employed in:

  • Professional and Collegiate Sports
  • Secondary and Intermediate Schools
  • Sports Medicine Clinics
  • Hospital ER and Rehabilitation Clinics
  • Occupational Settings
  • Fitness Centers
  • Physician Offices

What this role means in relation to physical therapy is that I am available to help train and further your physical advancement post-rehabilitation with VTFC. I also work individually with many athletes who aren’t going through rehab at all, and just want to further their athletic abilities. Athletic training is a great resource for truly any athlete or non-athlete looking to gain strength and stability. Call today to learn more about our Athletic Training Options or click here to schedule!

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