by Jennifer Taylor, MS, AT, ATC, athletic trainer,
Detroit Skate Club
March is National Athletic Training month and this year’s theme is, “Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer.” Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses.
Here are a few facts about athletic trainers that you may not have known:
Athletic trainers are leaders in concussion recognition and management
Athletic trainers are educated in the recognition, evaluation and management of concussions. A concussion, even in mild forms, is recognized as a type of traumatic brain injury that requires medical attention and monitoring. Concussions can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that can change the way your brain normally works. Symptoms are unique for each individual; with estimates suggesting that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreation-related activities every year.
Athletic trainers specialize in patient education to prevent injury and re-injury
Recent reports and many other case studies demonstrate how the services of athletic training save money for employers and improve quality of life for patients. For each $1 invested in preventive care, employers gained up to a $7 return on investment according to one NATA survey. The use of athletic trainers supports a quality-driven health care economy that increases competition in order to reduce patient and disease costs. With proper rehabilitation and evaluation, athletic trainers prevent re-injury.
More than 50 percent of athletic trainers work outside of school athletic settings
The skills of athletic trainers have been sought and valued by sports medicine specialists and other physicians for more than 60 years. Athletic trainers work in physician offices as physician extenders. They also work in rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and ambulatory care centers, military hospitals, physical therapy clinics, secondary schools, colleges/universities, youth leagues, commercial settings and professional sports teams. They are in great demand for their versatile health and wellness services and injury and illness prevention skills.
70% of athletic trainers have a master’s or doctorate degree
Certified athletic trainers are highly educated. Seventy percent of ATC credential holders have a master’s degree or higher. This great majority of practitioners who hold advance degrees is comparable to other allied health care professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, speech therapists and many other mid-level health care practitioners.
Athletic trainers are recognized allied health care professionals
ATCs are highly qualified, multi-skilled allied health care professionals and have been part of the American Medical Association’s Health Professions Career and Education Directory for more than a decade. Additionally, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine are all strong clinical and academic supporters of athletic trainers.