Home Healthcare Articles Athletic trainer
An athletic trainer is an allied health care
provider capable of performing immediate and emergency injury
management, injury assessment, and rehabilitation. Athletic
trainers work closely with other members of the allied health
team including physicians, physician's assistants, physical
therapists, and others.
Most athletic trainers are employed in athletic
settings including middle school, high school, college/university,
professional, and recreational sports. However, with the emergence
of the athletic trainer as a respected member of the allied
health community, many more find work in clinical, industrial,
and hospital settings as well.
Scope of Practice
Although each state sets its own scope for
practicing as an athletic trainer, standardized education ensures
the athletic trainer has knowledge in several areas:
Injury prevention and risk management
through developing training and conditioning programs, ensuring
a safe playing environment, selecting, fitting, and maintaining
protective equipment, explaining the importance of nutrition
and using medications appropriately.
Recognition, evaluation, and assessment
of injuries through conducting physical examinations, understanding
the pathology of injury and illness, referring to medical
care and support services. Immediate care of injury and
Treatment, rehabilitation, and reconditioning
through design of rehabilitation programs, supervising rehabilitation
programs, incorporating therapeutic modalities, and offering
Organization and administration through
record keeping, ordering equipment and supplies, supervising
personnel, and establishing policies for operation of an
athletic training program. And finally professional development
and responsibilities through acting as an educator and counselor.
Athletic trainers, as we know them today,
came into existence in the late 19th century with the development
and organization of interscholastic athletics. These individuals
did not have any formal medical training and were available
primarily for "rub-downs" and other home remedies.
Throughout the years the demand for athletic
trainers has increased dramatically. In 1950, athletic trainers
met in Kansas City, Missouri and officially formed an organization
to establish professional standards called the National Athletic
Trainer's Association (NATA). The NATA has grown to include
over 25,000 members.
Perhaps the most significant impact on the
profession of athletic training came in 1990 when the American
Medical Association (AMA) decided to include athletic trainers
as fellow allied health care professionals.
The standards of athletic training education
have changed much since AMA recognition in 1990. Currently the
minimum qualifications for becoming a Certified Athletic Trainer
(ATC) are a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college/university
and successful passing of a comprehensive examination. In order
to maintain certification, an athletic trainer must accumulate
80 hours of continuing education every 3 years.
Nearly half of all NATA members also possess
some form of post-Bachelor's education whether it be Master's,
Doctorate, or additional education in another allied health
Since January 1, 2004 it is required for all
those taking the national certification examination to graduate
from an accredited college/university with a specialized accredited
program in Athletic Training Education. This change was required
in order to ensure that basic minimum standards in the domains
of athletic training were met before taking the exam.
Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
Programs is decided by the Joint Review Committee on Educational
Programs in Athletic Training and reports to the Commission
on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
As stated, one must successfully pass a comprehensive
examination and possess a Bachelor's degree before receiving
the credential of Certified Athletic Trainer or A.T.C. In addition,
most states require a state license before practicing. Most
states recognize passing the certification examination as evidence
of meeting minimum standards for that state, however, the state
of Texas requires its own examination before issuing a license.