Top 10 Reasons Why Athletic Trainers are a Necessity for the Physically Active
DALLAS (Oct. 22, 2002) - As scary, creepy or frightening Halloween might be for some, what's more terrifying is understanding the significant - and very serious - consequences of NOT having a certified athletic trainer (ATC) present during physical activities, whether work or recreation. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) strongly encourages administrators at every level to use the services of an ATC in the prevention of injuries. ATCs are employed at every level of organized physical activity, ranging from recreational youth sports leagues and high schools, collegiate and professional sports teams to the military, hospitals and clinics, and industrial and commercial work settings. "Having an ATC on your health care team reduces the fear of injury and can make physical activity less scary," said Julie Max, ATC, NATA president and head athletic trainer at California State University, Fullerton. "Recreational exercise, athletics and work ergonomics will become more of a treat when the trick of an emergency room visit and associated costs are reduced. It's our goal to significantly reduce allied health care inconsistencies and make ATCs available to more people. Only about 30-35 percent of secondary schools, for example, have access to an ATC -- and THAT we think is extremely scary." To avoid truly "ghoulish" situations, the NATA recommends its top 10 reasons why having an ATC is essential:
- ATCs are first-responders who specialize in injury prevention, recognition, assessment, immediate care, treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning.
- As part of the complete health care team, the ATC works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents. ATCs can treat injuries more effectively because they are part of the health care team from start to finish.
- ATCs are qualified to make the ultimate call on how soon - due to injury - a player returns to the game, a worker returns to his job, or a serviceman goes back into the line of duty.
- They are also the "final word" regarding participation in extreme heat and cold conditions and inclement weather forces, like lightning.
- Patient satisfaction ratings are above 96 percent when a certified athletic trainer provides treatment.
- Certified athletic trainers have intense knowledge of the musculoskeletal systems and can maintain vital signs in any situation that warrants urgent care.
- An athletic trainer can decrease the odds against something going wrong at events, thus decreasing event or corporate liability issues.
- The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes athletic training as an allied health care profession, and through their expertise, ATCs can help avoid trips to the emergency rooms.
- ATCs must receive certification from the NATA Board of Certification, attend an accredited athletic training curriculum and experience rigorous hands-on training to ensure they are qualified professionals.
- They act as a voice of reason in injury prevention.
"Most people really have no concept of how important athletic trainers are and how extremely knowledgeable they are about most aspects of the medical profession - especially how our bodies tick," said Lawrence J. Lemak, M.D., founder of the National Center for Sports Safety. "There's no question that having an athletic trainer physically present is, in my opinion, the best option in eliminating injury situations and in having someone fully capable of overseeing the medical situation at hand." Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession. Based in Dallas, the NATA is the voice for 30,000 members of the athletic training profession in the United States. Its mission is to enhance the quality of health care for athletes and those engaged in physical activity, and to advance the profession of athletic training through education and research in the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries. (www.nata.org).