Athletic Training Corner

Welcome to the Athletic Training Corner. Here you will find information on pertinent topics related to athletic injuries and/or performance. This information is updated monthly by Thompson Health's athletic training staff.

Each month’s topic will be relevant to the types of sports going on at the time.

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National Athletic Training Month

National Athletic Training MonthPlease join us in celebrating National Athletic Training Month by taking this opportunity to learn more about the profession.

What does a certified athletic trainer do?

Certified athletic trainers are medical experts in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Athletic trainers can help you avoid unnecessary medical treatment and disruption of normal daily life. If you’re injured, they can get you on the mend and keep you on the move.

Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession, and the AMA recommends ATs in every high school to keep America’s youth safe and healthy.

  • Athletic trainers know and practice health care at the highest professional, ethical and quality standards in order to protect the public
  • Athletic trainers improve patient functional and physical outcomes
  • Athletic trainers specialize in patient education to prevent injury and re-injury and reduce rehabilitative and other health care costs
  • Athletic trainers provide the same or better outcomes in clinical settings as other providers

The certified athletic trainer specializes in six areas

  • Prevention
  • Clinical evaluation and assessment
  • Immediate care
  • Treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning
  • Organization and administration
  • Professional responsibility

Where does a Certified Athletic Trainer work?

Physician Extenders, Hospitals, Physical Therapy Clinics, Secondary schools, Colleges, Youth Leagues, Military, Performing Arts, Industrial, and Professional Sports

More than 50 percent of all athletic trainers work outside of school athletic settings.

What education is needed to become a Certified Athletic Trainer?

ATs must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to practice athletic training. They must also pass a certification exam by the NATA Board of Certification. Once certified, the AT must complete 75 hours of continuing education every 3 years.

In addition to certification, ATs must meet individual state licensing requirements.

Nearly 70% of ATs have a master’s or doctoral degree

What is the National Athletic Trainers’ Association?

The NATA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing, encouraging and improving the athletic training profession. Through its commitment to improving athletes’ health and well-being, NATA promotes excellence in athletic health care through public awareness and education.

The NATA represents more than 30,000 members

Athletic Trainers – not “Trainers”

The world today is on the move, and people are more active, more interested, more educated. We’re trained in fitness, sports, computer applications even parenting. As a result, the word “trainer” has lost its meaning. Here are the differences between a certified athletic trainer and personal trainer.

Athletic Trainer vs. Trainer (pdf)



An athletic trainer is a person who meets the qualifications set by a state licensure and/or the Board of Certification, Inc. and practices athletic training under the direction of a physician.


A personal trainer is a person who prescribes, monitors and changes an individual’s specific exercise program in a fitness or sports setting.

Certified Athletic Trainers:

  • Must have at least a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, which is an allied health profession
  • Must pass a comprehensive exam before earning the ATC credential
  • Must keep their knowledge and skills current by participating in continuing education
  • Must adhere to standards of professional practice set by one national certifying agency

Personal Trainers:

  • May or may not have higher education in health sciences
  • May or may not be required to obtain certification
  • May or may not participate in continuing education
  • May become certified by any one of numerous organizations that set varying education and practice requirements

Daily duties:

  • Provide physical medicine and rehabilitation services
  • Prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate injuries (acute and chronic)
  • Coordinate care with physicians and other allied health professionals
  • Work in schools, colleges, professional sports, clinics, hospitals, corporations, industry, military, performing arts

Daily duties:

  • Assess fitness needs and design appropriate exercise regimens
  • Work with clients to achieve fitness goals
  • Help educate the public about the importance of physical activity
  • Work in health clubs, wellness centers and various other locations where fitness activities take place


In an occupational comparison done by the U.S. Department of Labor, Athletic Trainers are placed in Job Zone 5. This means that it is an occupation which involves extensive preparation. Other professions that were in this zone were Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, and Dietitians and Nutritionists. In addition, it was given a SVP of 8.0+. Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) is a rating from 1-9 showing how much preparation is needed for certain occupations.

If you have any questions or are interested in the field of Athletic Training, please call 585-396-6050 to speak to one of our Athletic Trainers.

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