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Athletic Trainers Provide Critical Care


March is National Athletic Training Month, when we have the opportunity to highlight athletic trainers and the role they play in healthcare. This topic is one of great importance in Montana, helping to understand who athletic trainers are, the education they are required to have, and how they benefit the athletes in our communities.

According to the National Athletic Training Association, athletic trainers provide critical care as they work to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries and other activity-related complications. To do so requires extensive education and training. Athletic trainers must complete a Bachelor’s or Master's degree in athletic training from a CAATE-accredited program. In addition, they must complete a comprehensive and rigorous national certification exam.

In our state, athletic trainers must be licensed by the Montana Board of Athletic Trainers. As part of their licensing, applicants must submit a minimum of two references from clinical supervisors relating to their clinical training experience. They must also be a Certified Athletic Trainer through the Board of Certification (BOC).

Athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers. Their work may help athletes to become stronger and achieve greater speed, balance and jump heights through proper conditioning and body mechanics, but this is not their main function. Certified Athletic Trainers’ primary focus is firmly fixed on preventing injuries and illness. In other words, they work to keep athletes as healthy as possible and teach them how to avoid getting hurt. Athletic trainers have been particularly vocal about concussion research and promoting safety guidelines.

If an injury does occur, athletic trainers have the knowledge needed to assess and diagnosis it, and also to deliver immediate/emergency care if needed. For example, because athletic trainers are often on the sidelines of sporting events, they are the first people to examine an athlete. This examination may include evaluating for signs of a concussion, but also check for sprains, dislocations, bone fractures, dehydration, and even cardiac events. The athletic trainer then collaborates with physicians and providers, particularly those who specialize in sports medicine.

Athletic trainers may be called on to rehabilitate an athlete post-injury. In that role, they also help to assure athletes return to play when it is safe for them to do so.

We are fortunate to have highly-trained, certified, and licensed athletic trainers in our community. You’ll often see them at high school and collegiate games and training camps, monitoring athletic performance and at the ready to provide medical assistance when needed.

To see the full article from the Miles City Star click here!

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.