Story by: Rebekah Hibbert on March 22, 2018
In my years as an athletic trainer, I’ve come to realize my profession is misunderstood as well as confused with many other professions. In honor of National Athletic Training Month, here is some insight to what an athletic trainer is and is not. We are not personal trainers, physical therapists or emergency medical personnel. We are health professionals who work to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate sports-related injuries.
It’s likely you have interacted with an athletic trainer, whether it was while you were playing sports yourself, watching your kids take part in athletics or even in a doctor’s office. athletic trainers handle emergent, acute and chronic injuries and medical conditions in a variety of settings — from on the field to in the clinic.
We often are the first line of defense when injuries occur. We are an integral part of the sports medicine team and work under the supervision of physicians. We are required to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university and pass a certification exam with an independent national board.
I ask one favor of you during National Athletic Training Month: When you are around an athletic trainer, thank them for the job they do. It is often a behind-the-scenes, thankless job with long hours, but it is one athletic trainers are passionate about because we are able to help athletes and patients of all ages stay safe and active.
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