Occupational Certified Athletic Trainers Get Results

Occupational or industrial athletes — people who work in manufacturing plants, light industrial facilities and offices—are susceptible to many types of overuse and acute injuries. Many physicians agree that occupational injuries are surprisingly similar to those incurred by athletes on professional and amateur sports teams. Health and safety managers increasingly recognize that many occupational athletic training programs can benefit both the worker and the company. Certified athletic trainers are knowledgeable in the design, implementation and measurement of injury prevention programs, claims reduction and return to work programs. The programs keep employees working at full capacity, can improve company productivity and even help reduce health care and insurance costs. Certified athletic trainers are highly qualified, motivated health care providers who help a company achieve its health, safety and profitability goals.

Results that Save Human and Financial Resources

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (www.NATA.org) recently conducted a national survey of industrial companies that utilize the services of a certified athletic trainer.

Results of the survey showed:

  • 100% of the companies reported the athletic trainer provides a favorable return-on-investment (ROI).

Of companies that knew the specific ROI amount:

  • 30% indicated the ROI was at least $7/employee per $1 invested.
  • 83% indicated the ROI was more than $3/employee per $1 invested.
  • 94% of companies indicated the severity of injuries has decreased by at least 25%.
  • 68% of the companies indicated that the athletic trainer helped to decrease restricted workdays and worker’s compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) by more than 25%.
  • 50% of companies report that the number of injuries decreased by at least 50%.
  • 46% of the companies that provided on-site physical rehabilitation indicated that health care costs had decreased by more than 50%.

Injury Prevention

As employers explore new methods to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders and decrease workers’ compensation costs, taking a proactive approach through injury prevention programs helps. Certified athletic trainers provide numerous injury prevention programs, such as:

Ergonomics: Certified athletic trainers in industrial companies work to identify ergonomic risk factors and then assist in recommending and implementing both engineering and administrative controls.

Physical Readiness/Conditioning:Certified athletic trainers have developed conditioning programs for athletes and teams for years. Why would commercial operations be any different? Using the principles of conditioning, certified athletic trainers are highly qualified health care providers who develop physical readiness and conditioning programs for individuals or entire departments.

Health & Wellness:Certified athletic trainers frequently manage fitness and physical activity, therapeutic exercise, stress management, nutrition, smoking cessation and other wellness programs.

Education: Certified athletic trainers' academic education and practical training enable them to be well utilized as educators on a wide range of topics. For example, certified athletic trainers' knowledge of biomechanics provides a solid foundation for recommending safe work practices. Their expertise on injury prevention and physical activity and readiness is useful in developing programs that help prepare employees for work and keep them healthy while at home.

Assessment & Treatment: Similar to a private physician’s office the assessment of an injury is crucial to treatment and outcome. The athletic trainer will triage and apply the same first aid/front line injury and illness screening he or she routinely does on the sidelines of a sporting event or the manufacturing floor. The athletic trainer may split or bandage, and protect the affected body part before returning the person to activity. If routine treatment is ineffective, the athletic trainer assesses the person’s capabilities prior to referral to the physician and development of a treatment plan. The treatment plan includes strategies to reduce the long-term effect of an injury. Treatment may include splinting, bracing, bandaging, casting, wound care, aquatic therapeutic exercise, body mechanics training, manual therapy, supervised exercise, orthotics fitting ad training, gait training, range of motion, work conditioning or therapeutic modalities. Also important are rehabilitation plans for at-home or other work-specific corrective exercises and techniques. The certified athletic trainer considers other types of medical attention that may be needed, and how soon the person may return to physical activity.

Injury Management

Certified athletic trainers are adept at providing injury management programs that enable employees to return to work as quickly and safely as possible. Certified athletic trainers conduct on-site physical rehabilitation, case management and return to work-specific programs.

On-Site Physical Rehabilitation: Working under the direction and sometimes prescription of a physician, certified athletic trainers are effective health care practitioners who provide physical rehabilitation services on-site at the manufacturing plant or other industrial location. The athletic trainer's medical and rehabilitation skills allow them to perform ultrasound, electric stimulation and many other therapeutic treatments that assist employees in their recovery.

Case Management: Certified athletic trainers provide case management services by facilitating on-going communication between the employer, physician, outsourced rehabilitation providers, insurance company and the employee. Additionally, certified athletic trainers frequently support the injured employee’s progress, monitor medical care, promote efficient reporting and investigation, and assist in finding modified duty work for the employee.

Return to Work: There is virtually no difference between an occupational athlete and sports athlete. The skills certified athletic trainers use in returning an athlete to play are the exact same skills used to return an employee to work. The medical knowledge and diversity of certified athletic trainers make them attractive health care providers to implement, manage and conduct return-to-work programs.

What Is a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. To hire a qualified athletic trainer, visit the only comprehensive job listing service for the athletic training profession, www.NATA.org.

Companies That Employ Certified Athletic Trainers:

  • Allison Engine
  • Appleton Papers
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dana Corporation
  • Delta Faucet
  • Daimler-Chrysler
  • DuPont
  • Frito-Lay
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • International Paper
  • John Deere
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kodak
  • MeadWestvaco
  • NASA
  • Navistart International
  • Nike
  • Quad/Graphics
  • Roadway
  • Square D Company
  • Subaru-Isuzu
  • U.S. Marines
  • U.S. Navy
  • Navy SEALS
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