I have been doing Athletic Training for the better part of a decade now and in my experience I have encountered people from all across the country. I've encountered coaches, parents, personal trainers, physical therapists, physicians, and athletes and the one thing they all have in common, when it comes to Athletic Trainers, none of them have absoultely any clue what we do . Regardless of age or level of involvement there is a consistent level of ignorance to what it is that we do. How is this possible? How can an Athletic Trainer be at an institution for 10 years and the people that saw this individual "work" everyday still knows nothing about the services they provide? I have been pondering this for a while and now I wonder is Sports Medicine being done wrong by the Athletic Trainer?
This question has to be asked in my humble opinion as I run into athletes in my clinic and I hear stories that flat out make me mad. I am proud of what I do and to hear athletes consistently say that they go to the Athletic Training facility and their Athletic Trainer says something like:
-"I am hungry so I'm going to lunch I can't give you treatment"
-"I am going to go workout so I dont have time for you"
-"I'm tired so im just going to give you a bag of ice"
-"I don't know, so I don't know what to tell you"
As an Athletic Trainer I feel ashamed hearing the stories like that. How dare we want better wages or to be treated like qualified healthcare professionals when there are so many Athletic Trainers that don't do their job. Shame on us, complaining about our jobs and that nobody understands us, or that we work so hard.
We are supposed to be there for injury prevention, how often are we as a collective group doing it right?
-Are we taking objective measurements during pre-participation screenings to find dysfunction?
-Are we working together with our coaching staff or strength and conditioning coaches to:
-include stretches and resistance exercises that will prevent specific injuries based on the sport
-watch the occasional strength and conditioning session to ensure the athlete is doing the exercise correctly
-take data throughout the year to ensure that the programs you implemented are working
We are supposed to be first responders, are we doing this right?
-Are we even going to practices?
-Are we paying attention at practice?
-Are we intervening when something is unsafe?
We are supposed to be clinicians, are we doing this right?
-Do we even do an evaluation before administering treatment?
-Do we prescribe exercises that are appropriate?
-Do we use our manual skils at all?
-Do we take daily SOAP notes ?
-Are we collaborating with physical therapists who see our athletes so that they are getting well rounded care?
We are supposed to be professionals, are we doing this right?
-Are we following HIPAA laws?
-Are we following OSHA standards?
-Are we dressing like a professional?
-Do we carry ourselves like we are healthcare providers?
-Do we go to seminars and conventions to learn or just to hang out?
We are supposed to be Athletic Trainers, are we even doing this at all? If all we are doing is taping and icing its no wonder we aren't respected by anyone. There is no doubt in my mind that nothing for our profession is going to change if we as a collective group don't step our game up. There is no point in going to a masters, changing the name of our profession, or changing laws if; athletes can't even go into the Athletic Training facility and get an injury evaluated, athletes can't get QUALITY treatment for injuries, or an athlete gets hurt during practice and their Athletic Trainer is busy watching Netflix or went home cause its a few minutes away. I am unapologetic as I write this discussion because I don't understand how the ego of the Athletic Trainer got so big that we forgot to care for our athletes.
Why are we doing Sports Medicine wrong?
Audric Warren MS, ATC, CAFS, NASM-PES, NASM-CES