Sports Med Article Categories
Published on Monday, 05 October 2009 01:05
Written by Jonathan R. Wood, PA-C, ATC
ATC's can work in traditional
sports such as football.
Certified athletic trainers (ATC), per the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, are certified “healthcare professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. As part of a complete healthcare team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other healthcare professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents.1"
One can find them on the sidelines of athletic events evaluating injured athletes and providing them with care, whether it be through the application of ice, a brace, or a tape job.
Not only do ATC’s provide first aid and immediate care for injured athletes, they also design and supervise rehabilitation via stretching and exercise programs; and of equal importance, they strive to prevent injuries through designing proper warm-up routines and hydration education.
Athletic trainers (ATC) can function in a variety of venues and capacities.
- ATC's work with high schools, colleges and universities, and professional athletes, covering traditional sports such as football and basketball as well as nontraditional ones like Nascar and bull-riding.
Or ATC's can work in non traditional sports
such as bull riding.
- Others work with physical therapists in the hospital and clinical settings to assist with the supervision and management of rehabilitation programs.
- Many ATC’s function as healthcare providers in work places, having an integral role in the prevention and recovery of workplace injuries
How to become an Athletic Trainer or ATC:
Students must complete a program for athletic training that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE)
- In this program, they must master course work in basic sciences:
- anatomy and physiology
- exercise physiology
- injury evaluation and rehabilitation
- risk management
- healthcare administration
- Students are required to get clinical experience practicing their assessment and treatment skills. This is usually obtained through acting as a student athletic trainer for their respective school's athletic teams under the supervision of an ATC which is often supplemented with the guidance of a more experienced student trainer.
- Once one has successfully completed the program requirements (i.e. graduating), a successful applicant must pass the NATA’s (National Athletic Trainer’s Association) Board of Certification (BOC) certification exam in which students are evaluated in their knowledge of:
- injury prevention
- clinical evaluation
- immediate care
- treatment and rehabilitation
- organization and administration
- professional responsibility2
- Once an athletic trainer is certified, he/she may need to be licensed by his/her respective state in order to practice which the ATC does by completing the appropriate forms.
- Once practicing, an ATC must maintain certification by staying current in field related topics and completing continuing education requirements that are subject to audit every three years.
A vast majority of ATC’s further their education by earning master’s and/or doctorial degrees. In fact over 70% of certified athletic trainers have earned a master’s degree.1
For more information about Certified Athletic Trainers, visit:
Article courtesy of Jonathan R. Wood, PA-C, ATC. See Mr. Wood's bio.
(PA=Physician's Assistant, PA-C= The "C" means the PA is nationally certified, ATC=Athletic Trainer, Certified)
1National Athletic Trainer’s Association web page, “What is an Athletic Trainer;” (http://nata.org/about_AT/whatisat.htm)
2National Athletic Trainer’s Association web page, “Athletic Training Education Overview;”