Athletic Trainers: Healthcare Providers or Wannabes?

November 15, 2015

This post is likely to come off as a rant this evening, but I’m sorry: gotta do it! For those of you who may not know, I am a Certified Athletic Trainer. I am licensed in both Illinois and Texas. And I also hold a Masters Degree in Medical Sciences specializing in Pediatric Sports Medicine. So, just understand where this is coming from…

Athletic Trainers have been preaching for years about how we are healthcare providers. And we are. The American Medical Association recognized Athletic Trainers as allied healthcare providers back in 1990. In most states, Athletic Trainers are required to be licensed or otherwise regulated in some fashion. Athletic Trainers are well-versed in emergency situations, prevention and evaluation of athletic injuries, and rehabilitation of those injuries. Yada, yada, yada. I’m not here today to educate others on who and what about Athletic Trainers. Today, I’m talking to YOU as an Athletic Trainer.

Do we want to be Healthcare Providers or are we simply Wannabes?

We want to talk about being healthcare providers and being respected as healthcare providers. As we preach about every high school needing to employ an Athletic Trainer. And how we are qualified to perform rehabilitation, just like PTs. We want to tell people how good we are with diagnosing concussions. And we want to talk about how we prevent sudden death in athletics. All of this is true!

But then, we get into a situation like equipment removal of the spine-injured athlete and we go “nah, we’ll let the doctors deal with that!” Or we want to talk about exertional heat stroke and the need for an accurate core body temperature, which BTW is only accurately measured rectally. So we go “others don’t do it, so it’s not important for us to!” Or we want to claim that it won’t ever happen at the high school level because we don’t want to be sued for sexual assault. Or whatever other excuse you want to come up!

Are we healthcare providers or not?

If we want to be healthcare providers, then it’s time that we STEP UP and take charge. It is time we leave our comfort zone behind, improve our skills and knowledge, and PROTECT THE ATHLETE.

Do you want respect? Own your practice act, own your skill set, and get better.

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