Athletic Medicine

WHAT IS AN ATHLETIC TRAINER?

Certified Athletic Trainers are healthcare professionals who are experts in injury prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, particularly in the orthopedic and musculoskeletal disciplines. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied healthcare profession since 1990.

Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities.

WHERE DO WE WORK?

Some places that athletic trainers can be found working are schools (K-12 and universities), hospitals, physician offices, sports medicine clinics, sports facilities (Olympic, professional), fitness and wellness centers, performing arts, military, and industrial facilities.

WHO DO WE WORK WITH?

Athletic trainers work under what is called a "sports medicine umbrella." This means that we work with any medical professional who could be involved in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of an injured athlete. This can include physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurses, and paramedics, just to name a few.

WHAT EDUCATION IS NEEDED?

To work as a Certified Athletic Trainer, you must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from an approved four-year university. College students are typically assigned to sports or rotations and perform certain duties that are supervised by an approved clinical instructor. Some classes taken to obtain a degree include human anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, injury evaluation, and general medical conditions.(UPDATE…as of 2018 a Master's Degree will be required to become a certified Athletic Trainer).

HOW DO WE GET CERTIFIED?

After completing a four-year degree, students must take a computerized certification test to assure we have learned the requirements established by the Board of Certification (BOC). The exam consists of multiple choice and simulated scenario questions that a working athletic trainer would see in their day today activities. The topics for the exam are derived from the practice domains of athletic trainers including:

  • Injury/illness prevention &wellness protection
  • Clinical evaluation & diagnosis
  • Immediate & emergency care
  • Treatment & rehabilitation
  • Organizational & professional health & well-being

Once an athletic trainer passes their certification exam, proving their knowledge and skills, they are granted the title of "ATC."

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON?

In 2009 the State of Washington passed a bill stating that athletic trainers must be licensed in order to perform athletic training duties. In order to be licensed, you must be certified by the Board of Certification and pass Department of Health standards. After paying a fee and undergoing a background check the Department of Health will issue an Athletic Trainer License.

Links

National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA)

Washington Department of Health

Board of Certification (BOC)

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