Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers (AT), health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients across age and care continuums. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities. ATs work under the direction of physicians, as prescribed by state licensure statutes. Licensed Athletic Trainers are licensed through the PA State Medical and Osteopathy Board.
ATCs work in:
• Physician offices as physician extenders, similar to nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and other professional clinical personnel.
• Rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and ambulatory care centers.
• Clinics with specialties in sports medicine, cardiac rehab, medical fitness, wellness and physical therapy.
• Occupational health departments in commercial settings, which include manufacturing, distribution and offices to assist with ergonomics.
• Police and fire departments and academies, public safety and municipal departments, branches of the military.
• Public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional and Olympic sports.
• Youth leagues, municipal and independently owned youth sports facilities.
The following educational content standards are required for athletic training degree programs:
• Risk management and injury prevention
• Pathology of injuries and illnesses
• Orthopedic clinical examination and diagnosis
• Medical conditions and disabilities
• Acute care of injuries and illnesses
• Therapeutic modalities
• Conditioning, rehabilitative exercise
• Psychosocial intervention
• Nutritional aspects of injuries and illnesses
• Health care administration
The title of “athletic trainer” and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association The statutory title of “athletic trainer” is a misnomer. The AT profession was founded on providing medical services to athletes; however this is no longer the case. Athletic trainers provide medical services to all types of people – not just athletes participating in sports – and do not train people as personal or fitness trainers. The profession continues to embrace its proud culture and history by retaining the title. In other countries, athletic therapist and physiotherapist are similar titles. The athletic training profession began early in the 20th century, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association was established in 1950. NATA represents more than 34,000 members in the U.S. and internationally, and there are about 40,000 ATs practicing nationally. NATA represents students in 325 accredited collegiate academic programs.