10 Places You Didn’t Know Utilized Athletic Trainers

by Dave Heidloff | 3 Comments

March is National Athletic Training Month and athletic training has evolved as more and more people find out that athletic trainers’ expertise has applications far beyond athletics. Sure, working with on the field (or court – it is time for March Madness) may be the backbone of our profession, but there is an ever-expanding list of non-traditional settings that athletic trainers are making an impact. Below are 10 settings you might not have realized utilized athletic trainers.

The Military

The men and women of the armed forces are active from boot camp through retirement and put themselves in harms way. Unfortunately, that can sometimes lead to injuries that require rehabilitation and special attention to get back to peak condition. Athletic trainers have been working with the military to help evaluate and treat our armed forces’ injuries – sprains, strains, concussions, nutritional issues, etc. Their presence during boot camp helps aid in injury prevention, keeping small, nagging injuries from turning into serious ones. Also, their role in orthopedic screens allows them to identify potential problems and prescribe appropriate stretches and exercises to soldiers, possibly preventing an injury from ever occurring!

The Ballet

ballet18Dancers are, for all intents and purposes, finely tuned athletes – jumping, sprinting, lifting, and performing ridiculous movements at near-impossible angles. It’s no wonder that over the course of a show’s run, ankles are sprained, shoulders inflamed, and toes, well, let’s just say they need attention. Dance companies, like the Joffrey Ballet, have found athletic trainers to be vital to keeping their top performers healthy, not only between performances, but during the performances themselves. It’s not uncommon for an injury to occur and an athletic trainer to have minutes to evaluate and treat an injury before a dancer heads back out to perform. The show must go on, right?

The Doctor’s Office

Athletic trainers’ command of anatomy, physiology, and orthopedic evaluations have made them an integral part of many doctors’ offices as physician extenders. Their experience in triage, taking patient histories, prescribing therapeutic exercises, and educating patients help to improve patient outcomes, allow doctors to focus on their practice, and can help lower health care costs!

The Operating Room

Much like the physician extender setting mentioned above, athletic trainers’ scope of practice allows them to assist in the operating room (OR). Athletic trainers in the OR assist with prepping the surgical site, dressing any wounds afterwards, educating the patient on wound care, how to use any medical equipment given, and teaching patients their home exercise programs.

 NASA

Astronauts go through rigorous training and evaluations to make sure they’re ready for a trip to space. The last thing you want is to have to compromise a multi-million dollar mission because of a preventable injury. Luckily, NASA has utilized athletic trainers to keep our astronauts in peak physical condition, ensuring that doesn’t happen.

Government Services

When most of us think of government employees, we think of people behind a desk, but a lot of government employees are very active. Fire departments, police departments, and the FBI are among the more prominent government services that utilize athletic trainers to help prevent, evaluate, and treat on-the-job injuries, allowing them to better serve the community.

The Office

Picture 873Even the docile office environment has a reason to employ athletic trainers. Many companies have found that having an athletic trainer on staff helps to reduce health care costs. An athletic trainer’s experience in injury prevention can help identify ergonomic problems in work setups, screen employees for potential injuries, and advise ailing workers on stretches, exercises, and lifestyle strategies to help improve their health. All of this can help decrease insurance claims, worker downtime, and improve office morale.

Industrial Settings

Much like the office setting, athletic trainers are time and money savers in industry, helping workers in manufacturing plants and factories earn a living in a healthier environment. Athletic trainers can evaluate workstation setups to identify potentially hazardous situations, helping to prevent workplace injuries. They also help rehabilitate workers on-site, which improves their outcome through consistent treatment. Athletic trainers also utilize their overall knowledge of health to educate work forces on various topics. A healthier work force means decreased insurance costs, which makes everybody happier.

The Lab

Athletic trainers working for universities and various companies play a vital role in researching a wide array of topics that affect nearly everyone on the planet. Research in health, injury prevention, injury treatment methods, and a near-infinite amount of other topics have lead to breakthroughs in rehabilitation, bracing, protective equipment, and injury prevention strategies. The outcome for people around the world can mean a more effective helmet, a shorter rehab after surgery, or even a saved life. For example, athletic trainers have been at the forefront of concussion research, helping to change the way we evaluate, treat, and educate the public on this serious injury – potentially saving the lives and quality of life of countless athletes, soldiers, and the general public!

Television

Shows like The Biggest Loser hire athletic trainers to help keep their contestants healthy as they adjust to the sudden increase in physical activity. The WWE also hires athletic trainers to be part of their ringside sports medicine staff to ensure their stars stay as healthy as possible. If any show is active enough to have a sports medicine staff, you can probably assume an athletic trainer is in the mix.

As you can see, the profession of athletic training is evolving into nearly every area where people are active. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete or office worker, every body needs an athletic trainer.

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3 Comments

  1. Goal Keeper

    This blog is a great example of how athletic trainers are utilized in other areas outside of the athletic sphere. I am a soccer goal keeper for the women’s team at my university and there is always great debate about who is allowed to receive treatment form the trainers. All of the sports teams here are able to go and see the trainers, but the club sports, like rugby, are not permitted to be treated. This blog post gives perfect examples of why trainers should be made available to everyone at the university, athlete or not.

    I write a blog about student athlete life : Soccerlifegk@wordpress.com
    or follow me on twitter: @soccerlifegk 🙂

  2. Secondary Ed AT

    @GoalKeeper, The issue with club sports at many institutions is not the choice of the athletic trainers, but rather the administration. The administration’s hands are often held by what resources they have. As you’re probably aware being a varsity athlete who is allowed treatment, athletic trainers generally clock 50-60 (at some institutions 70+) hours per week. That’s excluding the additional time they’d spend with club teams. Providing coverage to more athletes would require the resources of additional athletic trainers, greater insurance coverage, and more supplies (in other words, money, money, and money). Some colleges and universities have a specific athletic trainer assigned specifically to club sports (see: University of California San Diego, Stanford, Boston University, etc.) Club sport athletes no doubt should be allowed coverage. It’s an administrative money issue. I would suggest taking it to your college’s Athletic Director and/or Vice President of Student Affairs about the importance of proper coverage of all sports and student-athletes.

    Also, we’re headed away from use of the word “trainer” when referring to athletic trainers. The Associated Press’ Stylebook, the standard for published journalists, recognizes “athletic trainers” as “Health care professionals who are licensed or otherwise regulated to work with athletes and physically active people to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and other emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions including cardiac abnormalities and heat stroke. Specify where necessary to distinguish from personal trainers, who focus primarily on fitness.” (http://www.bocatc.org/blog/uncategorized/victory-athletic-trainer-in-ap-stylebook/)

    A concise comparison between “trainers” and “athletic trainers” are also outlined here: http://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/AT-Not-Trainer.pdf

  3. Todd Keasling

    Then there insurance companies. I have two ATC friends working in that end of the industry

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