article courtesy of the AOSSM (by Robert Gray, ATC)

Athletic TrainersMany people don’t realize the skill level and importance of a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) being on the field at all times. These individuals are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize the activity level of patients across both the age and care continuum.

The profession of athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities that keep athletes both on the field and off.

The ATC often works under the direction of physicians, as prescribed by state licensure statutes, and are members of the health care profession as recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA). ATCs must meet the qualifications set by the Board of Certification, Inc. and must adhere to the requirements of a state licensing board. Currently, athletic trainers are licensed or otherwise regulated in 47 states. To become a certified athletic trainer one must graduate from either an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program. To earn the credential of “ATC,” one must pass a comprehensive examination and must keep their knowledge and skills updated by participating in annual continuing education programs. Approximately 70 percent of the athletic trainers have either a master’s or higher degree.

The certified athletic trainer is educated, trained, and
evaluated in five major practice domains:

  • Prevention
  • Clinical evaluation and diagnosis
  • Immediate and emergency care
  • Treatement and rehabilitation
  • Organization and professional health and well-being
The work settings for the athletic trainer often include the sidelines and training rooms in high schools, colleges, universities, and professional sports teams along with hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, corporate and industrial institutions, military depots, performing arts centers, and physician’s offices.