An athletic trainer treats and helps prevent injuries from athletic activity. Clients can range from blue-collar workers and housewives to professional athletes. Athletic trainers, often confused with personal trainers, are recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals. Most athletic trainer positions are sports-related, but an increasing number of jobs exist in hospitals, doctor's offices, colleges, universities and high schools.
Part of an athletic trainer's job includes educating clients on the best ways to prevent injury. An injury prevention routine will include proper equipment use, exercises to improve strength and balance, and therapy programs. As a protective measure, an athletic trainer will apply tape, bandages and braces to a client's vulnerable areas.
An athletic trainer is often the first person on the scene when an athletic injury occurs. The trainer must quickly determine the type of injury, assess the severity and provide immediate care, if necessary. Care can include the use of splints for sprains and breaks or immobilization techniques for head and spinal injuries.
After an injury has been assessed and treated, the athletic trainer will work with the client to develop an exercise program designed to strengthen the injured area and restore the client to optimal health. The trainer also will monitor and manage progress during the rehabilitation process.
Athletic trainers often work with other health care professionals to create education programs in hospitals, schools or workplaces. The goal is to teach students, employees and administrators about sports-related injury treatment and prevention.
An athletic trainer employed by a sports team or school must attend regular meetings with either the consulting physician, athletic director or other key officials to discuss injury updates, budget issues, purchasing policy guidelines and inventory control.
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