Jim Thornton gave a presentation suggesting it is time for NATA to investigate changing the name “athletic trainer” to “athletic therapist.” The following points were made and issues were raised during the presentation and discussion.
- In the nine years since the nomenclature task force, the world and healthcare environment have changed dramatically.
- The Vision Quest process and timeline did not allow any significant discussion on a name change. Nor did it take into account healthcare reform, which occurred at the very end of the Vision Quest initiative.
- In light of Vision Quest, is this an appropriate time to consider a name change?
- A new name would prevent our being confused with personal trainers.
- No title will give a clear, comprehensive picture of everything an athletic trainer does.
- Both trainer and therapist have limiting factors.
- How does athletic trainer fit into the new national healthcare model?
- Would changing the name assist with reimbursement?
- Generally our thinking has been that it would be expensive to change the name in state practice acts. The state legislative specialist at Venable believes this is not necessarily so, especially if the change is made gradually, either as practice acts come up for review or when another change is being made.
- Legislators generally do not take back practice rights granted.
- Ideally the name of the profession would represent the skill level of its practitioners, convey a good understanding of what an athletic trainer does, and be a positive factor in our Vision Quest efforts.
The use of a consultant was discussed. A consultant would bring an unbiased opinion and could help review and debate all possibilities.
Although it appears athletic therapist may have more support than other terms, the board felt it was important not to start with that conclusion.