Athletic Trainers - Healthcare In Action
What are Athletic Trainer's, and what do we do?
There is a lot of preparatory work needed to be done so that participation in sport is safe and efficient. Often under-appreciated is the lives saved in this phase of athletics. Examples include managing heat index guidelines, making sure equipment is safe and fits appropriately, lightning safety, and emergency action plans.
-Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
Despite everyone's best efforts, injuries cannot be avoided entirely. As certified Athletic Trainers, we are responsible for finding out what injury is, and the severity of it. From chronic back pain and to broken bones, to concussions and heatstroke; we take care of them all. Starting with a detailed history, we form a diagnosis using procedures such as range of motion, muscles testing, special tests, neurological screening, and palpation.
-Immediate / Emergency Care
Athletic Trainer's provide medical coverage for athletic events. We are the 1st point of contact with medical situations. The blood, the tweaks, the hits, and the tears, we are there for it. We provide care for injuries ranging from: minor cuts in practice, to cervical spine fractures requiring spine boarding and immediate transport. We are also the ones who determine any return to play decisions. As health care professionals, we are not beholden to coaches or sport circumstance. Our priority is the health and safety of the student athlete.
-Treatment / Rehabilitation / Reconditioning
After immediate care has been resolved, the hard work needed to get back to "game shape" begins. Individualized plans are put into place to return the body to full function after sustaining injury. Just as no two people are the same, the same is true for injuries. As Athletic Trainers, we take whatever steps necessary to assist the healing process. In our Athletic Training Room, you will see a controlled chaos of different activities with a singular goal of getting better. Any given day, it is likely to see: ice whirlpool full of sore runners, soccer players sprawled out on the floor with stretch bands and foam rollers, football players getting taped for practice, volleyball players working on balance exercises, or wrestlers receiving deep tissue treatments for increased mobility.
-Organization and Administration
The "unsexy" aspects that keep the house in order. This includes everything from implementing emergency action protocols, to ordering supplies. These are the things that are required for smooth continual operation.
Maintaining educational and AED/CPR certifications. Healthcare is an evolving field, and AT's have to evolve with it. While all AT's now require at least a Masters degree to become eligible for certification exams, this knowledge is only as good as its practical application. New evidence based protocols are continually being developed and implemented as the science behind it matures.