Sports Medicine Team: Athletic Trainers

December 2, 2012

I consider sports medicine to be very much a team activity and to provide superior sports medicine, there must be a team of professionals in place to make it happen. In this post, I will address those professionals that I consider crucial for a high school sports medicine team. I will post both the “ideal roles” as well as more realistic roles.

I’m biased, but this is the most important professional in the sports medicine team. The athletic trainer is the central figure with responsibilities in every facet of sports medicine. Every high school should have at least one athletic trainer if not a team of athletic trainers. The athletic trainers are responsible for six domains of athletic training.

1)      Prevention

2)      Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis

3)      Immediate Care

4)      Treatment, Rehabilitation and Reconditioning

5)      Organization and Administration

6)      Professional Development

Athletic trainers are found on the sidelines, on the bench, and in the dugout for many sporting events. They address injuries on the field, on the sideline, and in the athletic training room. Prevention of injury can also come in many forms including taping and bracing, proper warm up and preparation, and biomechanical training. Athletic trainers also evaluate injuries both acute and chronic and make clinical decisions as to the next step. Rehabilitation is an important aspect of the athletic trainer’s job as well to allow an athlete to return to participation.

A large component of clinical evaluation that continues to grow in publicity is that of concussions. Athletic trainers are on the front lines of concussion recognition and concussion management. Through the use of SCAT 2 forms, ImPACT testing, and clinical observations, athletic trainers must evaluate concussions and make proper decisions that can have immediate and long-lasting impacts on the health of the student-athlete.

The athletic trainer is also often responsible for many administrative duties within the sports medicine team. This can include budgeting for supplies, scheduling pre-participation exams, arranging doctor’s appointments, and managing athlete’s medical files.

Every Athlete Deserves an Athletic Trainer

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