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A Future in Athletic Training
By Amber Gragert
A person with a love of athletics and health & wellness, and an interest in how the two mesh together - is probably the exact person who should look into majoring in athletic training. This may not be the most glamorous of positions in athletics or the medical community, but it is very much a necessity in both fields. In a fast-paced technology driven world we need more people like athletic trainers whose goal is whole body balance and health.
Athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing and treating muscle and bone injuries and illness. They help to heal and achieve full body potential for their clients who are from all walks of life. They help heal through working with clients through therapeutic exercises and nutrition. When an athlete gets injured on the field, an athletic trainer is the person everyone looks to for their quick diagnoses of the injury and for answers on how to best treat the injured player. But that's not all athletic trainers do. They also assist gym goers in properly using equipment to strength train and use methods like massage and resistance training to strengthen weak backs, shoulders, knees, etc. All in an effort to help clients attain better mobility and health within their muscular and skeletal systems. This work also educates clients on how to prevent common injuries like torn ligaments and inflamed disks or help heal said injuries.
To become an athletic trainer, a bachelor’s degree is required; and, depending on the state in which you reside, you may also be required to obtain a license or certification to work as one. This major is all about kinesiology and biometrics. You will study subjects like sports psychology, medical ethics, as well as bandaging and strapping. Those are in addition to your classes in biology, mathematics, sociology, psychology, nutrition and, of course, kinesiology. In your studies, you will learn to assess an injury through observation and palpitation (by touch). You will also have to complete clinical rotations to get hands-on experience and training and then pass the entry level standard Board of Certification (BOC) Exam.
Some key and helpful traits of someone looking into athletic training as a major and future profession are patience and caring, compassion, highly motivated, good communication and problem solving skills and being solution driven. Being an athletic trainer is not limited to just gym time and weight lifting. They work closely with other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors, acupuncturists and physicians. This profession requires daily professional interaction with people - often highly motivated patients like athletes, so people skills are a key element to success in this line of work. There is also some pressure involved in situations like on-field examinations. It has potential to take you on the road and require travel time with a team of athletes - so flexibility and a sense of adventure would be a bonus in these instances.
People in this day and age are increasingly on the move. When activity increases, risk of injury also increases. This is where the work of an athletic trainer comes into play.
Examples of employment opportunities are:
• High School/Colleges/Universities
• Professional Sports
• Sports Medicine
• Physicians' Offices/Hospitals
• Military Bases
• Athletic Training Education Programs
• Performing Arts Companies