Ask people who their favorite athletes are and you’ll likely
hear a few big-name responses such as Tom Brady, LeBron James, Tiger Woods,
Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, and Floyd Mayweather.
While these are all talented and hard-working competitors, it’s easy to forget that it generally takes a team of trainers and sports chiropractors to help these top contenders become some of the most well-known and highly respected players in the world.
One of these roles is filled by individuals with the title
of athletic trainer.
What athletic trainers do
The Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) reports that there are currently approximately 27,800
athletic trainers in the United States, with another 6,300 expected to begin
working in this field by the year 2026.
These individuals perform injury prevention activities such
as applying protective devices to athletes’ most vulnerable areas prior to
training sessions and games, as well as developing and implementing programs
designed to help keep players injury-free.
Should an injury occur, athletic trainers are also tasked
with providing emergency care if necessary, evaluating the potential injury,
and coming up with an effective treatment and rehabilitation plan.
Athletic trainers are used in all level of sports, from
helping young children who are just getting into sports to assisting
professional athletes who make a living by playing the sport they love most.
National Athletic Training Month
Because these trainers play such a critical role, March has
been named National Athletic Training Month.
Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) explains that the goal of this month
is to spread awareness about the work conducted by individuals who have
dedicated their lives to helping prevent, diagnose, and treat muscle and
bone-related sports injuries.
The NATA further indicates that the 2019 slogan for National
Athletic Training Month is “ATs Are Health Care.” How can you celebrate this in
your practice, helping others see the value that athletic trainers provide?
Celebrating athletic trainers in your chiropractic practice
One option is to use the month of March to profile some of
the athletic trainers in your local area. Help your community get to know them
by interviewing them and asking them to share what they do and why they do it. Inquire
about some of the local athletes they’ve been able to help and the positive
impact that resulted.
If possible, interview the athletes these trainers have
helped and ask how their assistance worked to prevent or treat their injuries. This
offers a powerful form of social proof, when others hear the athlete say the
important role that the athletic trainer played in his or life.
These interviews could be video recorded and shared on
social media or they can be audio-only and posted in a podcast. Another option
is to transcribe them and write up a blog post that is posted on your web page
or place them in an email that can be sent to all your patients.
Another option is to create or sponsor an event in which local athletic trainers come in and share some of their best tips. At this event, these trainers can talk about some of the injuries they see most often in area athletes, as well as how to prevent them.
Working together with athletic trainers is a no-brainer for sports chiropractors. The goal of getting an athlete back to the best possible shape is shared by both sports DCs and athletic trainers.
These events can be put on for local sports teams to help
them keep their injuries to a minimum. Alternatively, they can be provided for
the community as a whole, helping active individuals and weekend warriors
prevent some of their most common issues, which include Achilles tendon rupture,
plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, ankle sprain, and shin splints according to Medscape.
Increasing awareness serves a dual purpose
Increasing awareness of the important role that athletic
trainers fill not only helps athletes understand that becoming a top contender
requires following safe practices and effectively treating any potential issues,
but it also provides value to spectators too.
By realizing that it takes an entire team to help an athlete
be his or her personal best, there is a greater appreciation for all of the
most well-known competitors and the steps they have to take to earn their top
It also serves as a great reminder that, whether we play sports
for fun or are in the minors or majors, creating a team of healthcare providers
to help us engage in our sports of choice safely is critical to being able to
continue that sport for the long term.