If you are watching a game on television it's pretty easy to spot the stereotypical Athletic Trainer, the guy/girl with the khakis on. Even if they weren't wearin a fanny pack, taping someone, or providing hydration to their athletes, khakis are a dead giveaway. This is because one of clothing's functions is communication. The way a person dresses assigns a certain meaning to that particular type of style of dress. So does our profession wearing sweats or khakis affect how we are percieved?
When you go to a doctors office or a hospital you typically relate scrubs with pretty much anyone who is a healthcare professional, if you see a guy/girl with slacks on or other business attire you automatically assume doctor. If you walk into any type of store most people would assume that the person in khakis and polo works there. (If you don't believe it try it out and see how many times you get asked for help finding an item). So what happens when parents and patients see an Athletic Trainer dressed in khakis what do they think? What about in the clinic when the Athletic Trainer is in khakis and the Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist is in business attire? Is it possible that our dress affects the perception our profession?
I understand that many of the environments that we work in are not conducive to wearing nice clothing because they will get wet, dirty, or torn and the fact that how we carry ourselves plays a role in how we are percieved. However, I am more curious as to how those in the Athletic Training community feel about this topic. The way a person dresses not only has an effect on the people around them but also on themself. Peoples dress affects how a person feels about themselves and their overall identity. Is it possible that some of the "bad apples" might perk up in their profession if they changed their outer appearance? I dont have the answer to that question but I am intrigued to see what others think about this.
Audric Warren MS, ATC, CAFS, NASM-PES, NASM-CES