Athletic Trainers are Healthcare
March is here, and that means it is National Athletic Training Month! What is an Athletic Trainer? You probably have seen Athletic Trainers (AT) assisting professional sports teams. You may have seen an AT donning khaki pants, polo shirts and a fanny pack and running onto the field or court to aid an injured athlete. This however, is just one of the many roles of an Athletic Trainer.
What are the various roles of Athletic Trainers?
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) says it best, “not all athletes wear jerseys.” The duties of many workers require range of motion, strength and stamina and pose a risk for musculoskeletal injuries. ATs serve in the roles of healthcare provider, researcher, advocate, and educator in their respective communities. Their unique skill set and orthopedic expertise allows them to be employed in a variety of traditional and emerging settings. This includes providing sideline or rehabilitative care to youth or professional athletes and contributing to the research of best medical practices at major universities and hospitals. It also includes serving alongside orthopedic surgeons in a private practice 🙂
What training and education is required to be an Athletic Trainer?
Currently, the minimum education degree requirement is either an entry-level bachelors or entry-level masters degree. However, post-professional (doctoral and masters), residency, and fellowship opportunities are offered to athletic trainers to further their education. According to the NATA, over 70% of ATs hold a masters degree or higher. The athletic training degree is transitioning to an entry-level masters degree as a minimum degree requirement. This will better align the profession with comparable healthcare professions, like physical therapy, which recently transitioned to a doctoral degree.
Athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers who focus solely on fitness and conditioning.
Why does AOSM utilize Athletic Trainers as Orthopedic Navigators?
Why does Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine hire Athletic Trainers? As a profession specializing in the diagnosis and care of orthopedic conditions, the terms “patient-centered care” and “inter-professional relationship” are entrenched early on in an athletic trainer’s education. This makes them the ideal profession to bridge the gap between patient and physician.
For us, we utilize Athletic Trainers not only as the bridge but also as a guide to help navigate the patient through their recovery. Our goal is to provide each patient an unparalleled continuum of care.