The Role of the Athletic Trainer in Youth Sports
My name is Tim Lampron and I am a Certified Athletic Trainer.
I am employed by Select Physical Therapy and provide athletic training services to New Milford High School athletes.
I would like to introduce you to who an athletic trainer is, where you will find them, and what they do.
Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving functional impairment, functional limitations and disabilities.
Athletic trainers are recognized by the American Medical Association as "healthcare professionals".
Athletic Trainers collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of athletes. Athletic trainers also determine safe levels of participation and appropriate return to play guidelines for athletes.
There are a few main settings that athletic trainers work in.
They can be employed by a professional athletic team, a college or university athletic department, a secondary school, a physical therapy clinic or an out-reach program.
An out-reach program takes place when a healthcare facility employs an athletic trainer and then contracts them out to one of the above-mentioned settings.
It is also becoming very common for athletic trainers to be seen covering many weekend sporting events such as club soccer tournaments, AAU basketball tournaments and summer sports camps.
In all of these settings, an athletic trainer serves the purpose of providing injury prevention and injury evaluation.
In the realm of injury prevention, athletic trainers are educated in identifying unsafe playing conditions.
They are trained in monitoring severe weather threats such as incoming thunder storms or extreme heat.
They can provide safe training in in extreme heat conditions by altering work to rest ratios, monitoring hydration and altering practice times to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Athletic trainers are also trained in preventative taping and wrapping techniques.
Athletic trainers use these techniques to facilitate safe play with minor injuries.
For instance, athletic trainers can tape a mild ankle sprain or put a compression wrap on a mild muscle strain that allows the athlete to be able to continue to compete.
Athletic trainers are visible on the sidelines of athletic events.
If you have ever seen an NFL football game or an MLB baseball game, the athletic trainer is the individual that enters the field of play when an injury occurs.
These situations occur on any level, whether a high school, college or professional athletic event.
During this type of situation, an athletic trainer is the individual that performs the on field assessment/evaluation and determines if it is safe for the athlete to remain in the game and continue to compete.
This is what athletic trainers refer to as "game coverage".
In the event that an injury occurs and the athletic trainer decides that it is not safe for the athlete to return to play, they withhold the athlete from competition until further evaluation is received.
This is where athletic trainers become a great resource for their athletes.
Athletic trainers specialize in dealing with athletic related injuries.
Athletic trainers are equipped to evaluate orthopedic injuries and setup a treatment plan.
Athletic trainers are aware of healthcare providers in your community and with the health care field being so specialized, an athletic trainer can help guide you to the appropriate healthcare professional for proper evaluation.
If an injury occurs to an athlete, an athletic trainer has the ability to facilitate a safe return to play for that particular athlete.
With musculoskeletal injuries, the sooner you receive treatment and control the inflammation process the sooner the body can begin the healing process.
The human body is an amazing machine.
It has the ability to adapt to demands placed upon it.
Without going into too much detail, by participating in a proper rehabilitation program the soft tissue in the human body will adapt and become stronger, therefore reducing the risk of reinjury and a safe return to sport.
An athletic trainer has the ability to design and implement a rehabilitation program or has the resources to direct an athlete to receive the proper rehabilitation for a safe return to play, if necessary.
This could save an athlete days, if not weeks of athletic participation.
In a nut shell, an athletic trainer is a healthcare professional that is there to help facilitate an athlete's participation in sport.
Should an injury occur they are a great resource .
So, the next time you are at or participating in an athletic event, try to pick out who the athletic trainer is and if you have something bothering you, please feel free to ask us for help.
Tim Lampron ATC, CSCS, CKTP
Head Athletic Trainer New Milford High School
Select Physical Therapy