Why athletes need athletic trainers – Supportive Taping and Bracing

8 Feb

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 7 – Supportive Taping and Bracing

The skill of taping is easy to learn, but difficult to master.  I have read somewhere that a athletic trainer mentor told his athletic training student that the first 1,000 ankle tapings are the hardest and after that it is easy! Athletic trainers take great pride in their taping quality and ability.  ATs also keep up with new techniques using new tapes.  The typical AT in the traditional setting will tape a 1,000 ankles, hundreds of wrists and fingers.  With each and every athlete shaped and sized differently, the AT can easily customize the tape job for the athletes particular needs.  Taping a wrist for a football lineman will be different than the wrist for the shooting hand of a basketball player.  The athletic trainer intuitively understands these differences and modifies the taping technique as needed.

Advances in bracing materials and styles have also advanced in the last decade.  There are now affordable, lightweight, comfortable and effective braces for just about every joint and every condition.  The difficulty lies in which brace to get.  There are dozens of knee brace styles so knowing which brace to purchase takes a lot of knowledge and experience.  The AT not only has this knowledge and experience, they often have a relationship with a sales rep that will offer discounts  with the purchase.

Many ‘old school’ coaches that I have had the pleasure of working with or playing for over the years were educated in taping techniques.  But because of a lack of practice, their taping skills weren’t up to the high  standard that ATs have now set.  Additionally, these coaches lacked the experience to be able to correctly suggest a brace for an athlete who needed the brace.

While taping and bracing are not skills c0mpletely unique to the athletic training profession, ATs do practice the skill the most and are the BEST health care professional to provide this service.

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