Certified Athletic Trainer Keeps Riders On 2,960 Race

Use of allied health care specialists a growing trend in physician practices

TAMPA, FLA (June 12, 2003) - Working as part of the sports medicine support team to support bike racers on a 2,960-mile trek is a multi-disciplinary medical challenge. But one professional on this team is trained to have a unique focus on injury prevention: the certified athletic trainer. Clinton Wynn, a certified athletic trainer (ATC) who works for the Florida Orthopaedic Institute in Tampa, Fla., is part of the Team FOI, which has four riders in the Race Across America that begins in San Diego on June 15 and concludes the week of June 23 in Atlantic City, NJ. The Team FOI has designated the Arthritis Foundation and the Tampa Bay Joints in Motion non-profit as the beneficiaries of their efforts. "Certified athletic trainers are specialists in injury prevention, which is crucial in a race like this," says Wynn. "My work in supporting the orthopeadic surgeons in our practice over the past year and one-half allows me to combine my clinical knowledge of musculoskeletal issues with the athletics in this intense race. Because of my education, I can help keep the racers on the road, and assist in treatment when an injury - like overuse - occurs." Wynn is one of a growing number of certified athletic trainers who work in physician practices, clinics and hospitals. There are more than 23,000 ATCs nationally, and about 20 percent work as physician extenders in clinical or physician practices. Other large employment settings are secondary schools, colleges and universities, and professional sports, according to National Athletic Trainers' Association. By gender, half are male and half are female. Family, pediatric and primary care physician practices that have physically active patient populations understand the benefits of an ATC as a versatile health care professional. "Because many certified athletic trainers have received their education and internship training around athletic programs, we are knowledgeable about responding to injuries immediately," says Wynn. "This helps in a clinical setting because we can triage and assess a patient, take patient histories, present the case to the physician and then conduct aggressive rehabilitation as instructed." ATCs frequently deliver in-depth patient instruction on exercises and post-operative care, which can speed recovery. "As more people become involved in athletic events like the Race Across America, more people become aware of the medical skills of certified athletic trainers," says Julie Max, president of NATA. "Our importance as allied health care providers is well known and respected in athletics. Others are now finding out how and why injury prevention can promote life-long physical activity among weekend warriors and recreational athletes. It just makes sense." Riding on Team FOI are: Larry Collins, ATC/L, PA; David Leffers, M.D.; John Small, M.D.; and Adam Morse, D.O. About NATA: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. For more, visit www.nata.org. Cbl/PR/arthritis race-physext_June03_final_61003 ATC Keeps Riders On Race

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