What is an Athletic Trainer

The certified athletic trainer (ATC) is a highly educated and skilled allied health care professional who specializes in providing care for the physically active and athletic populations. In cooperation with physicians and other health professionals, the athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, and physician offices. Other work settings for athletic trainers can include corporate and industrial institutions, the military, and the performing arts. Regardless of their practice setting, athletic trainers practice athletic training (or provide athletic training services) according to their education and state practice act.

The athletic trainers plays an important role in the health care of the physically active, especially in the prevention, recognition, management, and rehabilitation/reconditioning of injuries incurred as a result of activity. The care provided by an athletic trainer may help the individual avoid unnecessary medical treatment or aid in the referral to the appropriate physician.

Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. Accredited programs include formal instruction in areas such as injury/illness prevention, first aid and emergency care, assessment of injury/illness, human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic modalities, and nutrition. Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences. More than 70% of certified athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree.

More information about the athletic training profession can be found at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association website.

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