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Athletic Trainers are certified and licensed health care professionals who practice in the field of Sports Medicine. Athletic Trainers (ATC) can work in hospital emergency departments, intercollegiate athletics, the military, etc.
Many people are unaware of how much work ACT’s actually put in. High school athletic programs have undergone changes to try to make participation safe. ATC’s do daily rehabilitation, evaluations, treatments, practice preparation, and evaluating environmental conditions. ATC’s are required to be on all contact high school sports because they handle a wide range of injuries and are able to predict the exact injury and provide treatment for it. When they are unable to assess a major injury they will always refer you to a specialist that knows exactly what to do.
Over the years, ATC’s have acquired relationships with local specialists. They have also worked out an unofficial or unspoken agreement in which the ATC refers the injured athletes to specific doctor’s offices. That being said, it allows for a quicker recovery and keeps the athletes closer to their goal of getting back to their sport. According to AthleticBusiness.com’s article Understanding The Role Of Athletic Trainers in High School the ATC’s develop a program to educate staff, parents, coaches, and athletes on signs and symptoms, as well as the ATC’s responsibility and course of action for evaluation and treatment.
However, in the National Football League (NFL), the job requirements of the ATC are a little different. Although ATC’s all do just about the same thing; treating injured athletes and preventing athletes from injuries, VailDaily.com’s Life Of An NFL Athletic Trainer article, gives us a very descriptive outlook on the ATC’s day-to-day life while working in the NFL. Richard Williams told VailDaily that he had a very strict schedule. Williams performed many treatments daily and multiple times a day. As an ATC in the NFL, they set up the football field for practice, then examines the field for possible high-risk injury. As they check out the field, they run through the Emergency Action Plan to make sure everyone is aware of what they need to do incase of emergency. Williams admits to VailDaily that he works around 80-90 hours (not including travel) a week. As well as being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Williams quotes Geoff Kaplan, the head ATC for the Houston Texans, Kaplan said “…all people see is Sunday, from noon to 3. What people don’t see is my cell phone is on and I am on call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week during football season…”. Although T. Pepper Burruss; the Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist for the Green Bay Packers, did an interview with bocatc.org and said “I think there is an inherent ego that comes with the glitzy jobs, whether they are with a big time college, a professional team, or the Olympics… There is something to be said for the NFL, the travel, resources, budget, glitz and glamour and it can become addicting.
While Athletic Trainers in high school and the NFL do about the same thing, they each do their duties differently and each have different tasks required of them. ATC’s in the NFL are supplied with better and more resources than in high school. ATC’s have an important and extremely stressful job, but Athletic Trainers are very passionate about what they do.
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