"Health Care for Life and Sport"

As I get ready to start my second year with my job on Monday (sort of, and I'll explain later), I figured it was a good time to explain what it is exactly that I do. One of my original ideas for a blog topic was to use it as a means to promote my profession and give readers an idea of what we do (within HIPAA regulations, of course). There are very few people who actually know what athletic training is. There are a lot of people who think they know, but they don't. And then there are a lot of people who have no clue. I have met people who fall into each group, and this is how the conversation usually goes when I explain what I do to each group.

Group #1 -
A: What do you do for a living?
B: I work as an athletic trainer.
A: Oh, I know someone who is an athletic trainer
Oh, I thought about going into that
Really? So am I.
I was an athlete once. I liked my athletic trainer.
Generally followed by the "Where do you work?" and "Do you like it?" and "How long have you been an athletic trainer?" and "What sports do you like working with and which do you want to work with in the future?"
This is by far the most rare scenario. If they are an athletic trainer, I usually already know them or at least know that they are an athletic trainer. And people who know an athletic trainer or thought about going into the profession are very few and far between.

Group #2 -
A: What do you do for a living?
B: I am an athletic trainer.
A: Oh, that's cool. So you help people set up workout programs then. Could you set one up for me?
Oh, that's cool. So that's like a physical therapist, right?
B: No, that's more like a personal trainer. What I do is a little different.
Sort of, but there are some differences.
This scenario is then followed up by a long discussion about how athletic trainers are not personal trainers, physical therapists or EMT's.

Group #3 -
A: What do you do for a living?
B: I am an athletic trainer.
A: Ooooohhhh...*confused look*
Well, do you like it?
B: Yeah, I love it.
A: Well, at least you like it.
(at least? You say that like I just said I do a notoriously terrible job like a McDonald's employee...well, at least you like it...could be worse...I don't think I would go through all the effort of getting a bachelor's degree, passing the board certification exam, and then getting a master's degree to boot if I didn't like it, but then again this person obviously has no idea what I do for a living.)

So, here it is. What exactly is it that I do? Athletic training is a healthcare profession that works closely with physicians to provide optimal patient care through the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of a wide range of injuries, illnesses and conditions. It is a certified and, in most states, licensed profession that requires a bachelor's degree in athletic training from an accredited institution as well as passing of the NATABOC exam. Athletic trainers work in a variety of settings with the most well known setting being with athletic teams. The athletic settings range from children's teams to professional sports teams. The definition of athletic trainer that a lot of people seem to understand easier is this: Do you know when your favorite athlete gets hurt and all those people run out to help them? Those are athletic trainers. (Oooooohhh...this time, not so confused) I specifically work with Boston University's women's ice hockey team. Athletic trainers do work in other settings such as doctors' clinics, with ballet and dance crews, and in the military.

I will definitely talk more about my day to day tasks and responsibilities as they come up throughout the year (again, while keeping with HIPAA regulations). If you have any questions, feel free to ask or refer to the NATA website.


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