The National Athletic Trainers’ Association Code of Ethics states the principles of ethical behavior that should be followed in the practice of athletic training. It is intended to establish and maintain high standards and professionalism for the athletic training profession. The principles do not cover every situation encountered by the practicing athletic trainer, but are representative of the spirit with which athletic trainers should make decisions. The principles are written generally; the circumstances of a situation will determine the interpretation and application of a given principle and of the Code as a whole. When a conflict exists between the Code and the law, the law prevails.
1. Members Shall Practice with Compassion, Respecting the Rights, Welfare, and Dignity of Others
1.1 Members shall render quality patient care regardless of the patient’s race, religion, age, sex, ethnic or national origin, disability, health status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
1.2. Member’s duty to the patient is the first concern, and therefore members are obligated to place the welfare and long-term well-being of their patient above other groups and their own self-interest, to provide competent care in all decisions, and advocate for the best medical interest and safety of their patient at all times as delineated by professional statements and best practices.
1.3. Members shall preserve the confidentiality of privileged information and shall not release or otherwise publish in any form, including social media, such information to a third party not involved in the patient’s care without a release unless required by law.
2. Members Shall Comply With the Laws and Regulations Governing the Practice of Athletic Training, National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Membership Standards, and the NATA Code of Ethics
2.1. Members shall comply with applicable local, state, federal laws, and any state athletic training practice acts.
2.2. Members shall understand and uphold all NATA Standards and the Code of Ethics.
2.3. Members shall refrain from, and report illegal or unethical practices related to athletic training.
2.4. Members shall cooperate in ethics investigations by the NATA, state professional licensing/regulatory boards, or other professional agencies governing the athletic training profession. Failure to fully cooperate in an ethics investigation is an ethical violation.
2.5. Members must not file, or encourage others to file, a frivolous ethics complaint with any organization or entity governing the athletic training profession such that the complaint is unfounded or willfully ignore facts that would disprove the allegation(s) in the complaint.
2.6. Members shall refrain from substance and alcohol abuse. For any member involved in an ethics proceeding with NATA and who, as part of that proceeding is seeking rehabilitation for substance or alcohol dependency, documentation of the completion of rehabilitation must be provided to the NATA Committee on Professional Ethics as a requisite to complete a NATA membership reinstatement or suspension process.
3. Members Shall Maintain and Promote High Standards in Their Provision of Services
3.1. Members shall not misrepresent, either directly or indirectly, their skills, training, professional credentials, identity, or services.
3.2. Members shall provide only those services for which they are qualified through education or experience and which are allowed by the applicable state athletic training practice acts and other applicable regulations for athletic trainers.
3.3. Members shall provide services, make referrals, and seek compensation only for those services that are necessary and are in the best interest of the patient as delineated by professional statements and best practices.
3.4. Members shall recognize the need for continuing education and participate in educational activities that enhance their skills and knowledge and shall complete such educational requirements necessary to continue to qualify as athletic trainers under the applicable state athletic training practice acts.
3.5. Members shall educate those whom they supervise in the practice of athletic training about the Code of Ethics and stress the importance of adherence.
3.6. Members who are researchers or educators must maintain and promote ethical conduct in research and educational activities.
4. Members Shall Not Engage in Conduct That Could Be Construed as a Conflict of Interest, Reflects Negatively on the Athletic Training Profession, or Jeopardizes a Patient’s Health and Well-Being.
4.1. Members should conduct themselves personally and professionally in a manner that does not compromise their professional responsibilities or the practice of athletic training.
4.2. All NATA members, whether current or past, shall not use the NATA logo in the endorsement of products or services, or exploit their affiliation with the NATA in a manner that reflects badly upon the profession.
4.3. Members shall not place financial gain above the patient’s welfare and shall not participate in any arrangement that exploits the patient.
4.4. Members shall not, through direct or indirect means, use information obtained in the course of the practice of athletic training to try and influence the score or outcome of an athletic event, or attempt to induce financial gain through gambling.
4.5. Members shall not provide or publish false or misleading information, photography, or any other communications in any media format, including on any social media platform, related to athletic training that negatively reflects the profession, other members of the NATA, NATA officers, and the NATA office.
September 2005, Revised 2016