Sisters High School Athletic Trainer Alex Walker on what it means to be a high school athletic trainer.
What does it mean to have an Athletic Trainer (AT) at your school?
An Athletic Trainer (AT) is an allied healthcare professional who cares for athletes during every practice and game. Athletic Trainers treat and manageemergent, acute, and chronic injuries and medical conditions through examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Additionally, injury prevention is a key aspect of the work we do. Part of preventing injuries, is working to ensure the conditions that athletes play and practice in are safe. For instance, Athletic Trainers monitor the weather and field conditions in order to ensure that a safe playing environment exists.
Having an AT at your school means you have a highly educated medical professional who does more than tapes ankles and gives out ice bags. The athletic trainer knows the athletes inside and out is there to take care of them if they are injured.
What makes an AT different from other medical professionals?
Athletic Trainers are at the school every day. We are a familiar face for every athlete and are the only medical professional to follow the athlete from the initial point of injury until he/she returns safely to the field, court, or track.
Athletic Trainers help decide whether follow care from a doctor is necessary or not. We guide the athlete through the rehabilitation process following injury and educate the athletes about the recovery process.
What happens when a school does not have an AT?
When a school does not have an Athletic Trainer, they are asking someone other than a trained medical professional to make medical decisions and respond to emergencies on the field. Often times a coach or parent may try to provide the services of an Athletic Trainer. While coaches have first aid and CPR training, they are not healthcare professionals. In addition, they are being taken away from their primary role and may act with a clouded mind of wanting a specific outcome of a game.
Having an AT at your high school means that you have one designated person on the sidelines whose only job is to ensure the health and safety of the athletes.
Athletic trainers are a vital part of the high school healthcare team. We are there to take care of athletes on and off the field. Our goal is to support the athlete and make sure that their health and wellbeing are top priority. We are medical professionals that want to see every athlete thrive on and off the field.
Learn more about the education and licensing requirements to be an athletic trainer HERE.
Learn more about the importance of athletic trainers at the high school level HERE.
Written by: Alex Walker, ATC athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Sisters High School in Sisters, OR. Learn more about Alex HERE.
The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.