Keeping Student Athletes in the Game
Posted by Mylene Ray, Certified Athletic Trainer and Freeman Sports Medicine Outreach Coordinator, on March 29, 2016
I am often asked what athletic trainers do to help athletes remain healthy, get stronger and perform at their peak. Athletic trainers keep athletes safe with preventative measures, and help them return back to their game as safely as possible.
People also often confuse athletic trainers with personal trainers. Athletic trainers are board-certified healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to assess, treat and prevent athletic injuries. We provide emergency care, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. Athletic trainers work in a variety of locations including schools, workplaces, physician offices and hospitals.
Once an athletic trainer has completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited professional athletic training education program, he must pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification. More than 70 percent of athletic trainers have a master’s or a doctorate degree and must pass national certification exams in addition to their state licensure exams. An athletic trainer must meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified.
Athletic trainers have many job duties and responsibilities:
- Establish athletic training programs at assigned high schools, colleges or universities
- Provide injury assessment/first aid/treatment/rehabilitation for student athletes
- Attend at-home athletic events and provide services, as needed
- Communicate with team physician regarding an injured student athlete’s condition
- Assist coaching staff in implementing conditioning programs
- Create a safe-playing environment by monitoring environmental risks
- Provide educational in-services for school nurses, coaches, and parents relative to athletic training and the recognition of concussion symptoms and other illnesses
- Perform administrative tasks such as keeping records and writing injury and treatment reports
Many hospitals and physician clinics, including Freeman Sports Medicine, offer free or low-cost pre-participation sports physicals each year. Injuries or illnesses are often detected during these annual exams to alert students and their parents about medical conditions that may require further examination from a family practice physician or a specialist. Athletic trainers assist physicians and nurses in making sure injuries and illnesses are detected and recorded.
The safety of student athletes is always a top priority for athletic trainers. As emphasis is placed on today’s student athletes to become bigger, faster and stronger; the chance for injury increases. It is our responsibility to make sure injuries are assessed and treated so a student athlete can return to the game he/she loves and do so without further physical harm or injury.