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What is athletic training?

Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. 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.

Who are athletic trainers?

Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes. The NATA Code of Ethics states the principles of ethical behavior that should be followed in the practice of athletic training.

Athletic trainers are sometimes confused with personal trainers. There is, however, a large difference in the education, skill set, job duties and patients of an athletic trainer and a personal trainer. The athletic training academic curriculum and clinical training follows the medical model. Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program, and 70% of ATs have a master’s degree

Athletic trainers must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university approved by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). During this time the student will complete extensive clinical affiliations under appropriate supervision. On completion of this degree, the individual must then pass the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Board of Certification written and practical exams and fulfill requirements for licensure under the Virginia State Board of Medicine. Athletic Trainers are educated in the following domains*:
• Prevention of athletic injuries;
• Clinical evaluation and diagnosis of athletic injuries, including the accurate assessment of the type and severity of injuries;
• Immediate are of athletic injuries;
• Treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning of athletic injuries to minimize the risk of reinjury;
• Referral of injured athletes to appropriate medical professionals when indicated;
• Organization and administration of athletic health care, including medical record keeping, documentation of injuries, writing of policies and procedures, and budgeting; and
• Professional responsibility.


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