Athletic Trainer – not Personal Trainer, not Physical Therapist.

Hello all!

Today’s post will be all about athletic training and athletic trainers. This will be an informative post to help educate others on who and what an athletic trainer does exactly. I, myself am an athletic trainer and I am very proud to be because of things I am able to accomplish with the things I have learned through my education and job experiences. My supervisor and I were having a conversation about this just the other day and this is always a topic that pops up. If you are a person who never played sports in high school, college or professional then you might not know what an athletic trainer is.

According to the NATA (national athletic trainers’ association) “Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes.” Athletic trainers are very diverse in what they can do as far as being a healthcare professional. We are not personal trainers one bit. If you call an athletic trainer a personal trainer by mistake you might get a very rude response back. It is a very common misconception but hate that it is. At times I wish they would change the name to something more relevant to what we actually do, like a sports therapist or something of that nature.

I am going to be honest, I was not familiar with what an athletic trainer was until I decided to go to school for it. Once I had changed my major numerous times I had set my heart on being a physical therapist or PT for short. I thought it would be a very rewarding job helping others and it was also a popular and growing field. I would have ended up being Dr. Sa running sports med. I went to a local University where I was trying to get a bachelors degree in Rehabilitative Science so I can have a degree and have all my prerequisites completed for PT school. The University I was trying to complete this at had also a athletic training program that had many of the same classes as the rehab science program. I was given the opportunity to major in both it would only cost me an extra semester. The thing that sold me to spend an extra semester at this private University was that with a degree in athletic training I would be able to have a professional job if PT school did not happen right away or while I was in PT school I would be making decent money being an athletic trainer. To be honest I thought it was something similar to that of a personal trainer. I played high school sports but I never was hurt and only saw the AT once when I dislocated my ring finger. Swan neck deformity was the official name of my injury. I had reduced it myself and had my high schools athletic trainer check it but he said there was nothing else to do but to ice it. Anyways, I decided it would be worth getting the double major and thought it would help my transcript look really competitive if I had a double major. I finished school with a double major in athletic training and rehabilitative science, as well with a minor in psychology. I still had my mind set on PT school.

Then, I was able to get an internship with a very well known professional local basketball team that I had admired since I was a young kid, I couldn’t turn it down. It was an internship as an athletic trainer. This opportunity opened up many opportunities and led me to my current status and employer which I am currently am very proud to be a part of.

Athletic trainers are the healthcare professionals of the sports world. They are mix of emergency, orthopedic injuries, rehabilitation and many more things. They are the first ones out on the fields, diamond, and courts when an athlete is injured. They help the athletes, patients or trainees get through their injuries without completely counting them out of their game of play. They are not here to help you with increasing your bench and squatting goals. They are not here to meet your fitness goals. There are some ATs who do have a background in personal training and it might even help them be a better AT but this is not who we are. The field is growing and I hope there are more opportunities for athletic trainers to be  a part of the world outside of sports. They have so much to offer.

– SA running sports med ATC