Why Athletes Need Athletic Trainers – Access

6 Jan

Why do athletes or athletic departments or teams need the services of an athletic trainer?  This will be a series of articles attempting to examine the unique and important roles that athletic trainers play in the lives of the people that they care for.

Part 1 – Access

Can you name another health-care profession that gives you the instant and convenient access that the AT provides in the traditional setting (high school, college, sports teams)?  Almost all health care professionals in today’s world go to their office and patients come to them.  Most of the time, patients must make appointments.  Doctors used to make house calls, but that is an extreme rarity these days.  PTs are making house calls, but the insurance companies only pay for that in rare circumstances.  Hospice provides health care to comfort those who are dying in their own home.  Massage therapists often travel to their clients.  So, some health care providers do take their services to the patients, but in the grand scheme of things this service accounts for a very small percentage of the care provided.

But the access to an athletic trainer, a highly educated health care provider, is much different than any other health care profession.  In the traditional setting, the athletic training room is a walk in health care clinic with no appointment ever necessary.  Athletic trainers take their training kits and supplies with them and travel to the athlete’s practice or game location.  ATs often joke with one another that they put more miles on their golf cart or Gator traveling to various sporting venues than they do on their own vehicle.  Why?  We do this to make ourselves accessible to the athletes.  ATs get to know the athletes personally.  We get to watch them develop from an awkward 7th grader  into confident, mature 12th grader.

I can’t think of another health care provider that interacts with their client base on such a personal level as an AT.  We are known to spend long hours at our work all to give the athletes access to our services.  Most ATCs that I interact with don’t mind the long hours because they are developing meaningful relationships with the athletes.  That relationship is very important to us because that bond may be needed if an injury occurs.  We work hard to develop a bond and trust with the community, the parents, the athletes, the coaches and the administration.  We want to be there when we are needed.

In my opinion, easy accessibility to the athletic training room and to the athletic trainer is the most important service that an athletic trainer provides.  But, so many high schools in the country don’t know what they are missing.  The National Federation of High Schools’ participation statistics reveal over 14,000 schools field a football team and close to 18,000 field a basketball team, but the NATA membership statistics for 2010 show that less than 7,000 ATCs claim the secondary school as their job setting.   This means that less than 50% of the nation’s football teams and 38% of the basketball teams have access to an ATC.  These needs to change!

Let’s PROMOTE THE PROFESSION so that more athletes can receive the quality services of a Certified Athletic Trainer!

2 Responses to “Why Athletes Need Athletic Trainers – Access”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. News Article – Top 4 Changes in 2011 « promotetheprofession - January 6, 2011

    […] I wrote in today’s blog, access is the most important service that an athletic trainer provides. LikeBe the first to […]

  2. This Is What I Am Talking About « The Concussion Blog - January 6, 2011

    […] some of his sorties here, and he will have a permanent link on the front page.  Take a quick read on today’s post; Name another health-care profession that gives you the instant and convenient access that the AT […]

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