An athletic trainer is a certified and licensed health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.
"Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and quality of life for patients both of the physically active and sedentary population. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities."
"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."
To become an athletic trainer one must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited professional level education program and then sit for and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. By 2023, all accredited professional programs will be required to provide a master's level education. Each state then has its own regulatory agencies that control the practice of athletic training in their state. Most states (42) require an athletic trainer to obtain a license in order to practice in that state, 5 states (Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, West Virginia) require registration, 2 states (New York, South Carolina) require certification, while California has no state regulations on the practice of athletic training. Areas of expertise of certified athletic trainers include:
Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues, including actual athletic training facilities, primary schools, universities, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, physician offices, community centers, workplaces, and even the military. Emerging settings for athletic training include surgical fellowship opportunities.
The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the curriculum standards of all accredited Professional (entry level) and all of the institutions. The standards dictate the content of both didactic and clinical practice portions of the educational program. Content areas include:
There are several post-professional masters-level athletic training programs. These programs are for credentialed athletic trainers who desire to become scholars, researchers, and advanced practice professionals. Schools with post-professional athletic training masters programs include: A.T. Still University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Illinois State University, Indiana State University, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Ohio University, University of Oregon, California University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University, Old Dominion University, University of Toledo, University of Virginia, University of Missouri, Weber State University, University of Michigan, and Winona State University.
There are doctoral programs in athletic training, each with different curricular emphasis. Athletic training program in doctoral education is offered by the University of Idaho, A.T. Still University, and Indiana State University.
Athletic trainers treat a broad population, from the amateur and professional athlete to the typical patient in need of orthopaedic rehabilitative care. The NATA describes typical clients groups as,
Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues. These may include: