The NATA for National Athletic Training Month has selected “We Prepare, You Perform” as the slogan for the month. This slogan shows what sets us as athletic trainers apart from other medical professions. Athletic trainers prepare for any situation that may arise so that athletes may participate as safely as possible. I tell my kids often to play your heart out, and we’ll be here to fix you. Athletic trainers are working hours before practice and games to ensure that athletes are able to perform at the safest and highest level possible. From taping to setting up hydration states at practice or games, they are working tirelessly to prevent emergency situations.
Athletic trainers help athletes prepare for their sport through preventative strengthening and flexibility programs. Athletic trainers work closely with strength coaches and other coaches to create these programs in order to make the athlete more resilient and move more fluently.
Injured athletes also need athletic trainers to help them prepare to return to the highest level possible after injury. Whether it is your run of the mill ankle sprain or an ACL reconstruction, athletic trainers work daily with athletes. They develop rehabilitation programs to help restore range of motion and strength. Athletic trainers also implement strength and reconditioning programs to help that athlete return back to their previous level and maybe even better, with the ultimate goal being to prevent re-injury.
Not all situations are avoidable, so athletic trainers also prepare to react to emergency situations. Long before a practice or game occurs, athletic trainers are creating and implementing, and rehearsing their emergency action plans. Through thorough planning and execution of these plans, the evaluation and care of all injuries runs smoothly. Well thought out emergency action plans help coordinate care and make sure that everybody knows their role in the case that an emergency does occur.
Much of an athletic trainers work is done before the craziness of sports has even begun, but it never stops as we are always preparing ourselves to be ready for any situation. We are continually educating ourselves on the newest research, mentally going over situations that COULD occur, and working to maintain the safest possible environment for athletes to participate in.