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Frequently Asked Questions About Athletic Trainers
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Frequently Asked Questions About Athletic Trainers

by Us3eNumb3rZERO

Individual athletes and sports teams rely on Athletic Trainers (ATs) to support player health and performance, but ATs also do much-needed work in many other settings. At JAG Physical Therapy, sports organizations, schools, athletes, and other physically active persons across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania trust our athletic training services thanks to the incredible empathy, skill, and experience of our athletic training staff. Our passion for making an impact translates into delivering an unparalleled sports medicine experience.

Contact us to learn more about how ATs from JAG Physical Therapy can help you or your organization, or read on to find the answers to some of the most common questions about the athletic training field.

What are Athletic Trainers (ATs)? 

Athletic Trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals specifically trained in the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of medical conditions and emergent, acute, and chronic injuries. ATs work collaboratively under the scope of a plan of care or written protocol provided by a physician. Guidelines and regulations governing athletic training practices may differ from state to state.

Are Athletic Trainers Considered Healthcare Professionals?  

Yes, athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an allied health care profession. ATs are sometimes confused with personal trainers. However, there is a large difference in education, skillset, and job duties – an AT's education and clinical training follows medical standards.  

How Do You Reference an Athletic Trainer?

Athletic Trainers should only be called just that – “athletic trainer” – or the abbreviation “AT”. Just saying “trainer” is ambiguous and can refer to personal trainers or other professionals, and “ATC” specifically means an Athletic Trainer’s certification, and does not refer to an individual.

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What Are Athletic Trainers Responsible For? 

In sports settings, an Athletic Trainer is usually the first health professional on the scene of an injury. Their unique skill set allows them to recognize, triage, and manage acute and chronic injuries that may occur during physical activity. Services provided by ATs in different settings include, but aren’t limited to: emergency response and care, first aid, injury risk assessments, environmental safety monitoring, ergonomic and biomechanical assessment, concussion assessment and care, manual therapy and stretching, application of therapeutic modalities, physical rehabilitation, splinting, and taping and supportive wrapping.

How Does One Become an Athletic Trainer? 

To become an AT, one must graduate from a nationally-accredited master’s-level (previously bachelor’s-level) Athletic Training Education Program and successfully pass the national Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) examination to earn the ATC credential.

How Can One Actively Practice as an Athletic Trainer? 

In addition to earning and maintaining the national ATC credential, 45 states require AT licensure, 3 states require AT certification, and 1 state requires AT registration in order to practice athletic training services. ATs must meet both national and state-specific requirements on an annual basis.

Is There High Demand for Athletic Trainers? 

ATs are everywhere. There are nearly 30,000 ATs nationwide, and this number is growing!  As more people of all ages are participating in physically demanding activities, the need for highly skilled professionals to recognize, treat, and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries is warranted. ATs are commonly found working in all levels of sports and can practice in any setting allowed by scope-of-practice regulations. You can find ATs in professional and Olympic sports, physician’s offices, sports medicine and rehab clinics, hospitals and urgent care facilities, occupational and corporate health departments, public safety departments, the military, and the performing arts.

How Much Continuing Education is Involved in Being an Athletic Trainer?

An AT's education never ends. ATs must renew their national certification every two years by participating in a minimum of 50 hours of professional development via educational lectures, seminars, workshops, and symposiums. Renewing certification shows value and promotes continued competence through further development and knowledge of best practices and new research, along with enhancement of professional skills and judgment – all to benefit the patients and populations ATs serve. 

Contact JAG PT today to learn more about our best-in-class athletic training program in NY, NJ, and PA, or find a location near you. If you’re interested in a rewarding position as a JAG Physical Therapy Athletic Trainer, see our careers page.