What’s in a Name Part 2

March 1, 2013

Last year during National Athletic Training Month, I discussed the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s plan to evaluate a potential name change. You can read that post here.

This year I am enrolled through the University of South Florida as a graduate student and last week our discussion was about this very topic. I’d like to talk a little bit about that discussion as well as introduce a new year on the blog during National Athletic Training Month.

So What’s In a Name?

Using proper terminology is crucial. Those in and surrounding athletic training have for too long allowed slang used about our profession. It is important, in my opinion, that this ends. The athletic training profession is very split on this issue and I think a lot of it revolves around the long-accepted term “trainer” and the professionals who have decided this is inappropriate. They tell people how they “don’t train athletes” and so they don’t understand why “athletic trainer” is our title. And how much we must change it so we can have the perception of other professionals.

Many people in favor of changing the name of our profession think we should be “athletic therapists” like our brothers and sisters in athletic healthcare north of the 49th parallel. But to me, going that route here in the USA will simply confuse everybody AND look as if we are chasing the physical therapy profession.

For too long, athletic trainers have chased physical therapists. It appears our profession has some jealousy issues chasing physical therapists. It’s time we break away from that mindset and re-recognize our unique skills and education in athletic healthcare. We have to quit chasing other professions and own our identity. We don’t currently do that as a profession.

I think we must start this whole process by using proper terminology. Let me begin by defining some important terms…

Athletic Training–> 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.

Athletic Trainer–> Health care professionals who are licensed or otherwise regulated to work with athletes and physically active people to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and other emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions including cardiac abnormalities and heat stroke. Specify where necessary to distinguish from personal trainers, who focus primarily on fitness.

For the athletic training profession to continue to grow, we must evolve. It is time that the profession comes together as one unit for the betterment of the organization and each other’s careers. United as Athletic Trainers we can succeed.

We ARE Athletic Trainers.

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