Athletic Training 101
Chances are if you’ve been to a high school sporting event in the last few years you’ve seen someone on the sidelines or behind the bench wearing a CHI sports medicine polo. Who exactly are they? Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals with education and extensive clinical experience in athletic training. Along with passing a national certification exam, we are also required to be state licensed. CHI Health employs 18 athletic trainers across 16 area high schools. I like to think of us as a “jack of all trades.” Athletic trainers are trained in the prevention, diagnosis, immediate care and rehabilitation of athletic injuries, so a little bit of
Let’s start with prevention. Athletic trainers help prevent injuries by inspecting playing surfaces for hazards, environmental conditions for hazards (think lightning, too wet surfaces, too hot temperatures), preventative taping and bracing of various joints, and helping with proper training form. We aren’t personal trainers, although we do know quite a bit about physical activity and proper training.
Diagnosis. Unfortunately, injuries do occur, and your athletic trainer will be there when it does. We have a vast knowledge of the human body and injury assessment that helps us to determine what exactly is wrong and how to further get you help. We don’t have x-ray vision and we certainly aren’t physicians so we also know where our limits are and when to refer you on to the physicians that make up our sports medicine team for further evaluation!
Immediate Care. This goes hand in hand with the diagnosis. Whenever you see an athletic get injured and a group runs onto the playing field – that’s us! As part of the diagnosis, we also know what needs to be done immediately to get you back to functioning as quickly as possible. Sometimes that means an ice bag, compression wrap and wait and see; other times it means splints and spine board. We spend a considerable amount of time preparing and planning for worst case scenarios and hoping we never need to use those skills.
Rehabilitation. From a minor ankle sprain to an ACL repair we can help get you back on the playing field! This can help parents save both time and money not having to take time out of their workday and time out of the kid’s school day to get out to a physical therapy clinic. A lot of rehabilitation can be done at the high school and this is definitely helpful in getting that athlete back onto the playing field they’re used to!
Athletic training is a unique profession where we get to know the athletes from health and back to health again! We are there through the entire process with them and parents always like knowing we are there every day keeping an eye out for their kid’s safety. We are part of the overall sports medicine team which includes physicians, strength coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc. We are proud to be a part of a great network of people who get to care for athletes!