Athletic trainers provide care on and off the sidelines

Athletic trainers work to prevent, examine, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate injuries and medical conditions. Get to know this growing profession.

Athletic Trainers are a small but mighty group of health care professionals employed by Norton Healthcare. March is National Athletic Training Month, and this year’s theme is “Athletic Trainers (ATs) are Health Care.” It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the profession better.

What is an athletic trainer?

Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. You may have interacted with an athletic trainer while you were playing sports yourself, watching your kids take part in athletics or even in a doctor’s office.

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Where do athletic trainers work?

Many people think athletic trainers work on the sidelines with athletes, but that’s just one setting where you might receive treatment from an athletic trainer. While the sports settings are considered the traditional workplace for athletic trainers, and still are the largest employers of them in the country, there are many other places you will find them these days. They are treating soldiers in the military, employees in the industrial workplace, athletes in the performing arts and even patients in orthopedic clinics like the Norton Orthopedic Institute.

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Athletic training is a growing field

Why is athletic training growing beyond the sidelines? Employers are learning how and what athletic trainers do, the expertise they provide and how valuable they can be. At Norton Orthopedic Institute and Norton Sports Health, athletic trainers apply their education and experience to care for patients. Athletic trainers have provided front-line care in the competitive sports setting since the emergence of the profession. In recent years, athletic trainers have assumed expanded roles in a wide variety of settings, including the outpatient orthopedic clinic. Athletic trainers specialize in injury prevention and care. Athletic trainers’ work helps prevent injuries and promote healthy lifestyles, which fits a model adopted by most hospital and health care systems, including Norton Healthcare.

Ryan J. Krupp, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, is medical director of Norton Sports Health and co-director of Norton Orthopedic Institute, and has worked with athletic trainers since he began his practice.

“Athletic trainers are able to triage patient issues and report those to me efficiently because of their background in orthopedic evaluation,” Dr. Krupp said. “They are also essential to answering patient questions in regards to diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, bracing and other issues, because of their expertise and experience in a wide variety of orthopedic-related issues.”

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No matter the setting where you may interact with an athletic trainer this month or in the future, ask about their work or the profession as a whole. More people are beginning to understand the unique skill set and added value athletic trainers bring to a variety of settings. You may find out that your workplace could benefit from athletic trainers’ services as well.

About the author: Rebekah Hibbert is the coordinator for Norton Sports Health. She is a licensed athletic trainer in Kentucky and has previously worked in the military, college and high school settings.

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