WHAT IS AN ATHLETIC TRAINER?
The certified athletic trainer (ATC) is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in athletic health care. In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the certified athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the athletic health care team in secondary school, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, and other athletic health care settings.
Certified athletic trainers have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree usually in athletic training, health, physical education or exercise science. New standards enacted by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Board of Certification require that all candidates in hopes of being eligible for the certification exam must possess a post-baccalaureate degree in athletic training from an accredited college or university.
In addition to the introductory and advanced athletic training classes, athletic trainers study human anatomy, human physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, athletic training, nutrition, and psychology/counseling.
ATHLETIC TRAINER'S ROLE
A certified athletic trainer has many different responsibilities when providing athletic health care. In March 1982 the National Athletic Trainers Association, in conjunction with the Professional Examination Service, completed a Role Delineation study. The study identified six "major tasks" or areas of competency for the certified athletic trainer.
Prevention of athletic injury/illness
Evaluation of athletic injury/illness
First aid and emergency care
Rehabilitation and reconditioning
Counseling and guidance
Organization and administration