By now you may have seen Atlas Fitness is offering Athletic Training sessions. But what is an Athletic Trainer?
Athletic Trainers are Certified Allied healthcare providers, licensed by their state boards, to prevention, examine, diagnosis, treat and rehabilitate emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. Athletic Trainers are certified by the Board of Certification (BOC) after completing an accredited program in Athletic Training. Historically these programs existed at the bachelor level, but in recent years the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and the BOC have shifted requirements that programs operate at the Masters level. Which means all Certified Athletic Trainers will be required to obtain a Masters degree in order to practice. This push has been made so that Athletic Trainers can be recognized by licensing agencies in the same rehabilitation category as a Physical Therapist or an Occupational Therapist. Athletic Trainers are often mistook for personal trainers but our practice is more in line with that of a physical therapist, to restore function and reduce pain through therapeutic exercise. The skills to do so are obtained through full coursework and over 1000 hours of clinical instruction and practice in various settings.
Traditionally referred to as “trainer” or even sometimes “Doc” by athletic teams, Athletic trainers are most often recognized for their ability to tape injured athletes so that they can return to a game. However, the skills and knowledge of certified Athletic Trainers allow us to get people back into their healthy, active lifestyles by method more substantial than just athletic tape. Recent topics in Concussion and Heat-related have propelled Athletic Trainers into the forefront as experts in these and other topics as they relate to sports performance and sports safety.
While Athletic Trainers often work in schools or with specific sports teams, but we utilize the knowledge of Athletic Trainers here at Atlas to help keep you moving or back to performance. The first step in this process is an orthopedic evaluation of an injury or an assessment of exercise patterns during your routine that may contribute to injury. As a medical based evaluation, special tests for ligament integrity, muscle function and range of motion give an impression of which structures may be contributing to your pain. Once the issues are identified, we can make a plan to resolve the problem through various therapeutic modalities. Manual therapy, commonly referred to as a “massage”, is any form of treatment where the practitioner uses their hands in combination with other instruments to mobilize tissue which helps restore range of motion and therefore pain free function. Manual therapy is most effective when combined with therapeutic exercise. Our personal trainers do an amazing job of adding various therapeutic exercises to workout routines to help build stability through strengthening the smaller muscles in our body but it is one of the focuses of Athletic Trainers to build these exercise programs in combination with an existing strength and conditioning program. Our Athletic Trainer works on site with our personal training staff to communicate modifications or to introduce additional exercises to ensure a safe workout that won’t exacerbate your pain. Including the Athletic Trainer in the observation of the workout allows us to utilize the knowledge of intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors that could play a role in acute and repetitive use injuries.
In addition to the modifications to the existing program, Athletic Trainers have the tools to treat injuries pre and post exercise. An effective combination of Athletic Training and Personal Training services would include restoring the range of motion, building the body through a workout and then helping the body to recover post exercise. Cryotherapy, heat therapy, or an effective cool down stretch are all modalities that can possibly be used to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness keeping you moving and progressing to your goal. We will discuss all of these modalities and our Game-Ready unit more in depth in future articles, but our Athletic Trainer can help recommend and evaluate which might be most effective for you.
You can check out more about Athletic Trainers through our National Association at https://www.nata.org/about/athletic-training