Athletic trainer

Athletic trainer

An athletic trainer is a certified, health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.[1]

As defined by the Strategic Implementation Team of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) in August 2007:[2]

"Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities."

Areas of expertise of accredited athletic trainers include Risk Management and Injury Prevention, Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses, Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Assessment, Medical Conditions and Disabilities, Acute Care of Injuries and Illnesses, Therapeutic Modalities, Conditioning and Rehabilitative Exercises, Pharmacology and Psychosocial Intervention and Referral, Nutritional Aspects of Injuries and Illnesses, Healthcare Administration and "Professional Development and Responsibility".[citation needed]

Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues, including actual athletic training facilities, primary schools, universities, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, physician offices, community centers, workplaces, and even the military. Emerging settings for athletic training include surgical fellowship opportunities.[3] Two of these pioneering programs have been established at Emory Sports Medicine Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado.


Educational programs

CAATE oversees the curriculum standards of all accredited member institutions. The standards dictate the content of both didactic and clinical practice portions of the educational program. Content areas include:[1]

  • Risk Management and Injury Prevention
  • Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Assessment
  • Medical Conditions and Disabilities
  • Acute Care of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Conditioning and Rehabilitative Exercises
  • Psychosocial Intervention and Referral
  • Nutritional Aspects of Injuries and Illnesses
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Professional Development and Responsibility
  • Healthcare Professional Development and Responsibility

Post-Professional Programs

There are several post professional master's level athletic training programs. These programs are for credentialed athletic trainers who desire to become scholars, researchers, and advanced practice professionals. There is currently one Doctor of Athletic Training program, which was designed to create advanced athletic training practicing professionals. There are also several doctoral programs that have a concentration in athletic training (laboratory research). For a complete listing of these programs see

Treatment population and settings

Athletic trainers treat a broad population, from the amateur and professional athlete to the typical patient in need of orthopaedic rehabilitative care. The NATA describes typical clients groups as,

  • Recreational, amateur and professional athletes
  • Individuals who have suffered musculoskeletal injuries
  • Those seeking strength, conditioning, fitness and performance enhancement
  • Others designated by the physician.

Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues. These may include:

  • Athletic training facilities
  • Schools (K-12, colleges, universities)
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Physician offices
  • Community facilities
  • Workplaces (commercial and government)
  • Military installations and veteran medical facilities
  • Professional sport organizations

Emerging settings for athletic training include athletic training fellowships. Two of these pioneering programs have been established at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado.

See also


External links

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