Who are athletic trainers?

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Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes. The NATA Code of Ethics states the principles of ethical behavior that should be followed in the practice of athletic training.

Athletic trainers are sometimes confused with personal trainers. There is, however, a large difference in the education, skillset, job duties and patients of an athletic trainer and a personal trainer. The athletic training academic curriculum and clinical training follows the medical model. Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program, and 70% of ATs have a master’s degree. Learn more about the education of athletic trainers.

The Guide to Athletic Training Services (pdf) describes the qualifications of athletic trainers and the clinical tasks they routinely perform in the delivery of quality health care.

If you are a current high school student and interested in athletic training, you can learn more about the profession by reading the Becoming an AT (pdf),  Profile of Athletic Trainers (pdf) and Who is Taking Care of Your Athletes? (pdf) infographics.

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