The best case scenario for sport coaches, administrators and parents is to have a Certified Athletic Trainer at all sport practices and games. Athletic Trainers are highly educated health care professionals who specialize in preventing, diagnosing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. The medical education of an athletic trainer is unique to the sport setting so they possess skills that allow them to promptly and properly diagnose and manage acute or chronic injuries, including concussion. They are also qualified to make critical decisions regarding return to play.
Athletic training plays a large role in the public health sector, especially for clinical settings that involve secondary education such as local high schools. An athletic training programs’ primary mission is to educate the athlete and get them involved in wanting to learn more so they can perform better and be healthy as a whole. Another goal is to get athletes to be proactive about their own health. This way no matter the environment they find themselves in, they are informed and knowledgeable about common health related issues that can be avoided simply by behavioral modifications.
Advocates for Smart Play
Athletic trainers are strong advocates for athletes to play smart on and off the field. This simply means wanting them to take care of their bodies on and off the field. In order to do this, athletic trainers put preventive measures in place and encourage athletes to pay attention to how their body is feeling so that they can properly recover and not mentally disregard something that needs to be further evaluated by the appropriate healthcare professional.
One of the biggest dangers of an athlete pushing through when they don’t feel 100 percent is the probability of potentially making something small into something much bigger days or weeks down the line. For example, a soccer player could think “my feet hurt, I’m having sharp pains,” but decide to keep playing and not tell anyone. A couple weeks down the line, this same soccer player now has bilateral foot fractures that are season ending.
Athletic trainers don’t want to scare athletes, create fears, or keep them out of the game. Their goal is to encourage athletes to play smart and be in tune with their bodies. They also want players to understand that there is more value in taking 15-30 minutes to talk with a healthcare professional, than pushing through and possibly ending their season unnecessarily.
An athletic trainer is an invaluable asset to your local high school’s athletes. They attend practices and games because they want to help athletes succeed. Whether its by encouraging team’s preventative measures, such as wearing new helmets to prevent concussions, or by looking on from the sidelines to notice that an athlete’s knees are knocking due to poor landing techniques, athletic trainers are here to help you stay in the game as your healthiest and best self.