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Kishwaukee College

What Does an Athletic Trainer Do?

“The athletic trainer plays a unique and important role in the health care system of the 21st century, which includes preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating sports injuries. In this role, the athletic trainer can help athletes avoid unnecessary medical treatment and disruption of normal daily activities.

Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession. Specifically, the athletic trainer specializes in five practice areas and domains.

    · Prevention of athletic injuries
    · Recognition, evaluation and immediate care of athletic injuries
    · Rehabilitation and reconditioning of athletic injuries
    · Health care administration
    · Education and counseling

As part of a complete health care team, the athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care workers, athletic administrators, coaches and parents. The athletic trainer gets to know each person individually and can therefore treat the injury appropriately.

An athletic trainer's day may, for example, include these tasks:

  • Preparing athletes for practice or competition including taping, bandaging, wrapping and bracing.
  • Evaluating injuries to decide if the athlete needs further medical treatment.
  • Developing conditioning and injury rehabilitation programs.
  • These duties require extensive knowledge and strong decision making skills, obtained through the athletic trainer's experience and education.
  • Athletic trainers can find employment opportunities in these settings:

    • Secondary Schools. Public and private secondary schools offer special job opportunities for athletic trainers. More high schools now appreciate that athletic injuries can be prevented or better cared for when the health care team includes athletic trainers. Many athletic trainers in the high school setting also teach classes in various academic subjects.
    • Colleges and Universities. Athletic trainers' jobs in colleges generally fall into two categories: Athletic department staff assignment, and Combination teacher/athletic trainer. Employment in this setting remains stable with little turnover. A majority of colleges and universities now require a master's degree for employment.
    • Professional Sports. In this setting athletic trainers work only one sport, such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer. Although the teams operate only a few months of the year, athletic trainers work year around in conditioning and rehabilitation. Athletic trainers have fewer employment opportunities in professional sports due to the smaller number of teams.
    • Sports Medicine Clinics. This fast growing setting provides athletic trainers with the opportunity to work with a number of different health care professionals and a diverse patient population. In addition to athletic injury rehabilitation, a number of clinics provide athletic training services for secondary schools.

    Other possible athletic training employment opportunities include corporate health programs, health clubs, clinical and industrial health care programs and athletic training curriculum programs.”

    Source: National Athletic Trainers Association


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