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Why are you an Athletic Trainer?

I think its safe to say that when it comes to Athletic Trainers, more often than not there is a chip on the shoulder of the average AT about the profession. Whether it is the hours, the pay, or the misconceptions about the job title/description there is often something that flat out bums the Athletic Trainer out about the profession. Where did the passion for the profession go? Better question: Where did the passion come from in the first place?

I know for me in highschool I was hurt nearly every football season. Scratch that, I WAS hurt every football season without fail. It was like clock work, sustaining injury after injury. Suffice to say I spent my fair share of time in the Athletic Training room. This is when it all started for me seeing what it takes to come back from not just one injury but several time and time again. When it came time to choose a major in college Athletic Training was a no brainer. The more I learned about it , along with several "gentle nudges" from my professors to get my act together, the more passionate about it I became. The puzzles of finding out what was wrong, the real time decision making, the motivation of getting your athlete through a rehab, there is nothing like it. After college the feeling of being on your own and having your own athletes , it was all so great and still is. Even after accepting my first job and getting a 10k pay cut my first week, dealing with administration changes that belittled Athletic Trainers in the clinic and forced good people/Athletic Trainers out of jobs or into lower level positions after promising lateral or upward moves, and a company that had no idea what an Athletic Trainer was I still found myself loving the profession because I love my athletes/patients and that awesome feeling of seeing them feel better after treatment or return to their sport pain free and successful. Still,I can see why many Athletic Trainers lose that zest they once had and go back to school for something different entirely, seek other employment, or stay in the job they have and fly under the radar not really doing a whole lot other than occupying space.

After reading a few of my motivations, I would love to hear why are you an Athletic Trainer? What were your motivations for getting into the profession and what is your motivation to stay in the profession?
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