Athletic trainers, or ATs, are experts in the treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of injured athletes. Athletic trainers are frequently the first medical experts on the scene following an accident. Athletic trainers work alongside doctors to offer emergency and follow-up care for injured athletes, as well as to design injury prevention and treatment programs.
Athletic trainers also serve as a critical communication connection between the injured athlete, the physician, the coach, and, in certain cases, the player’s family, to assess whether it is safe to return to practice and competition.
Scope of practice
Athletic trainers are health sciences professionals that specialize in athletic health care and are highly educated and trained. They collaborate with trainers, physicians, and physical therapists.
An athletic trainer’s tasks and responsibilities in a normal day include:
- Providing athletic training services
- Applying tape, bandages, and braces to protect or prevent injuries
- Evaluating injuries and providing first aid
- Implementing rehabilitation programs for injured athletes and developing injury prevention programs
- Performing administrative tasks, such as writing reports and instructions
The athletic trainer works as an important component of the health care team at colleges and universities, K-12 schools, hospitals, fitness centers, doctors’ offices, and professional sports teams, in collaboration with physicians and other allied health professionals. As a result, sports trainers can work with patients of all ages.
Sporting trainers are responsible for preventing and treating athletic injuries that may occur during practice or play. During the day, athletic trainers may also teach at the high school.
Athletic trainers work with patients to provide treatment and rehabilitation, as well as provide athletic training coverage for a high school or college and to conduct coaches’ seminars and other sports medicine instructional programs.
Athletic trainers oversee practice sessions and home and away competitions, monitor athletic training students’ educational experiences, and may teach athletic training education classes.
Athletic trainers work with professional sports teams all year, including football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.
Aside from sports teams, businesses engage athletic trainers to provide medical services to employers and employees. Athletic trainers may even help offices with ergonomics and injury prevention. There are additional opportunities in the military, performing arts and dancing groups, and medical sales.
The majority of sports trainers work full-time. Many sports trainers labor outside in all weather conditions. If they work for sports teams, they may be required to work evenings and weekends and may be required to travel regularly.
Becoming an athletic trainer
Employers frequently want individuals that are empathetic, detail-oriented, and have excellent decision-making and interpersonal skills when employing sports trainers. Many athletic trainers are sports enthusiasts who find considerable professional pleasure in dealing with athletes.
Higher education requirements
A bachelor’s degree is required to become an athletic trainer, however, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association claims that 70% of athletic trainers have a master’s degree. Many businesses prefer to recruit master’s-level sports trainers. Athletic trainers’ curriculum and clinical training are based on a medical-based education paradigm. Biology, anatomy, nutrition, sports medicine, and kinesiology are among the subjects you may anticipate taking. Almost all states need licensed or certified athletic trainers to practice.
Following a high school education, the normal road to becoming an athletic trainer comprises the following steps:
- Getting a Bachelor’s Degree (common majors are athletic training and exercise science)
- Graduating from an athletic training education program certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Trainer Education (CAATE).
- Passing the Board of Certification certification test to become a certified athletic trainer or ATC
- Certified athletic trainers, like most other healthcare professionals, must retain their certification via ongoing education.
Career opportunities and outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly pay for an athletic trainer is $49,800. This value is determined by experience, credentials, and geographic location. Because the sector is limited, jobs are competitive, particularly for employment with professional and college sports teams.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of sports trainers in the United States will rise significantly faster than the national average. One explanation is that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of sports-related injuries. Second, the middle-aged and older population is staying active, necessitating the demand for athletic trainers.
An athletic trainer can advance to become a head athletic trainer, an athletic director, a clinical practice administrator, or a physical therapist with more training and experience.