What is an athletic trainer?

  • While athletic trainers are becoming more and more mainstream, I'm sure there are plenty of people that still wonder, what is an athletic trainer?  Well, let me shed some light on the subject.  I am a nationally certified, and state licensed health specialist, focusing on the care of athletes.  To put it simply, an athletic trainer, or ATC, is a gatekeeper.  I am the communication between doctors and coaches, between the athletes and coaches, and also between the doctors and athletes.  My ultimate goal is an athlete's safety and well-being.  And, under the unfortunate circumstance that an athlete gets injured, I help to get them back as quickly as possible.  To be an ATC, you must go through an accredited bachelor's program, and pass a national certification test through the NATABOC.  I went to Gustavus Adolphus College where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training and Purdye University for my Master's of Science in Biomechanics.  While in school, I took classes on physiology, nutrition, evaluation and rehabilitation of injuries, along with several science courses.  I have been certified for 20 years, and now have to earn 75 continuing education hours every 3 years.  My typical workday includes preparing athletes for practice or competition (ie tape lots of ankles, wrists, fingers, etc), evaluating new injuries, and rehabilitating current injuries.  Sound like fun?  It is!