Athletic Training Month is Here. Promote the Profession!

1 Mar

Throughout this blog, I have written my opinions on why an AT should be at every high school in the US, but this blog is too small a forum to accomplish that goal.  What it will take to achieve that level of care for all high school athletes is a collective effort by thousands of ATs across the country to promote the profession.  This series of blog entries will seek to give ideas to the AT on real life ways that they can also promote the profession.

National Athletic Training Month

March is National Athletic Training Month.  As an AT, unless you have been living under a rock, you know this.  But unless you work for a clinic with multiple athletic training contracts or a university with multiple ATs on staff, you probably don’t do much to celebrate the month.  I say that because that has been me, working alone at a high school and doing nothing to take advantage of NATM to promote the profession.  Usually it isn’t because I didn’t want to, I just felt alone and powerless to be effective.  I read about colleges ordering t-shirts, marching in a St. Patrick’s Day parade, doing a charity drive or staffing a AT booth at a health fair.  I read about clinics using the month as an opportunity to advertise in papers or the radio touting the care their ATs provide to the athletes at XYZ School.  These are all great things, but I couldn’t do those since I was alone at a high school.   You can order 1 t-shirt with a costume logo.  It is not easy walking in a parade alone let alone not having a conflict with a practice or a game.  I was looking at what I couldn’t do rather than what I could do.

So what can the individual AT do to promote the profession through NATM?  Here is a list of some things that you can do as an individual, even if you are part of a large staff at a college or clinic who is doing something else for NATM.

Facebook status updates.  I will be posting a different status frequently with a small factoid about athletic training such as “Did you know 70% of athletic trainers have a masters degree?”  Look at the NATA website for facts, etc. and use them to educate your Facebook Friends.

Tweets on Twitter.  If you are on Twitter, you can use your account to tweet the same updates.

Call the TV station that you watch for your local news and see if you can get a mention in the sports that March is Athletic Training Month.  If you are up to it, pitch the idea with the Sports Desk to do a feature story on the local ATs providing care behind the scenes of the athletic departments.   News people love the special interest stories and you are dropping one in their lap making it easy.

Make a poster to put up in your athletic training room.  Today’s modern printing methods make this easy and cheap.  There are multiple photo printing services online that will print a poster for you for just a few dollars.  Even Walmart can print a large poster for you for a minimal fee.  The NATM logo is available for download here.  Download it and get it printed to hang on the door to your training room.

Change your email signature to include March as Athletic Training month.  In my signature, I have the ability to add a small image so I have added the NATM logo.  I also have this tag line under my signature “An athletic trainer is a Nationally Board Certified sports medicine provider with specialization in the prevention, recognition, treatment, rehabilitation and administration of injuries and illnesses to the physically active population.” You have my permission to use this line in your email.

Make a connection with the news media. If you have been at the high school or college setting for a while, you will get to know who the news media is and often they will get to know you.  The beat writer for the local paper or the sportscaster for the local TV news are professionals who are at a lot of games.  Develop a relationship with them and then during late February or early March pitch the idea of writing something about the athletic trainers in the area.

The best way to be effective is to use the relationships you already have.  These people already know you and the professional standard to which you hold yourself too.  Use these relationships to better the profession and hopefully recruit young and bright students to be the next generation of ATs as well as improve the understanding of our profession to the parents and community that we serve.


Enjoy the month!

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