What is a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Why is a Certified Athletic Trainer Needed in Secondary School Athletics?

According to the NATA Injury Surveillance Study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, more than 7 million student-athletes participate in high school sporting activities. Because injury is an inherent risk of athletic participation, high school administrators make every effort to reduce the number and severity of sports related injuries.

Board of Certification (BOC) Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) are imminently qualified to provide athletic health care to high school students participating in athletics, and they are commonplace in university athletic programs and professional sports. In 1998, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy recommending that NATABOC certified athletic trainers be available in all schools with athletic programs. (Ref. AMA Resolution 431, A-97) Athletic trainers provide prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries in cooperation with a physician director.

Treating an injury immediately and rehabilitating it properly may reduce the risk of re-injury or prevent a more serious injury in the future. The certified athletic trainer can provide the necessary daily supervision of rehabilitation and reconditioning programs that will allow for a safe return to participation. The student’s physician, the ATC and the athlete, along with parents and coaches, must function as a team to ensure the student’s safety and good health.

Education of the BOC Certified Athletic Trainer

BOC Certified Athletic Trainers must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, successfully complete the extensive clinical affiliations under appropriate supervision, and pass the BOC examination.

BOC Certified Athletic Trainers are educated, trained and evaluated in five major practice domains:

  1. Prevention
  2. Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
  3. Immediate and Emergency Care
  4. Treatment and Rehabilitation
  5. Organization and Professional Health and Well-Being

Professional Regulation of Certified Athletic Trainers

The State of Illinois regulates the profession of athletic training as an allied health profession. Tony, Amanda and Megan are licensed by the State of Illinois’ Department of Professional Regulation, earning the distinction of LAT.  This is the regulating body for all medical and allied health professions within the state. They also must obtain Continuing Education Units to maintain their license and national certification. All three Certified Athletic Trainers are members of the National Athletic Trainers Association. They are also certified in CPR by the American Red Cross, and hold Professional Rescuers and AED certification.

Is An Athletic Trainer The Same As A Personal Trainer?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Our name is sometimes confusing because Athletic Trainers don't train athletes.  Instead, Athletic Trainers are healthcare providers who specialize in healthcare for athletes and the physically active. The American Medical Association recognizes Athletic Training as an Allied Health Profession. In Illinois, Athletic Trainers must obtain a license to practice. The ATC credential requires at least a bachelors degree from an accredited program, extensive clinical practice time under the supervision of credentialed professionals, demonstration of proficiency in over 1000 clinical skills, and passing a very rigorous, 3-part national certification examination. Personal trainers, on the other hand, are fitness professionals and NOT healthcare professionals. Whereas in recent years, many personal trainers have college degrees, there is little or no governmental regulation of their professional practice and there are very few requirements to obtain a personal training credential. The only similarity between Athletic Trainers and personal trainers is that both work with athletes, but we do VERY different jobs.