Athletic trainer

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Not to be confused with Personal trainer.
Athletic trainer Nate Lucero (right) evaluates Houston Astros baseball player George Springer after Springer was hit by a pitch in 2014

An athletic trainer is a certified health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.[1]

As defined by the Strategic Implementation Team of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) in August 2007:[2]

"Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis[3] and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities."

To become an athletic trainer one must have a degree from an accredited professional level education program and then sit for and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. Each state then has their own regulatory agencies that control the practice of athletic training in their state. Most states (39) requires an athletic trainer to obtain a license in order to practice in that state, 5 states (Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, West Virginia) require registration, 4 states (Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina) require certification, while California has no state regulations on the practice of athletic training.[4] Areas of expertise of certified athletic trainers include:


Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues, including actual athletic training facilities, primary schools, universities, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, physician offices, community centers, workplaces, and even the military. Emerging settings for athletic training include surgical fellowship opportunities.[6]

Educational programs[edit]

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the curriculum standards of all accredited Professional (entry level) and Post-Professional institutions.[7] The standards dictate the content of both didactic and clinical practice portions of the educational program. Content areas include:[8]

Post-professional programs[edit]

There are several post-professional master's-level athletic training programs. These programs are for credentialed athletic trainers who desire to become scholars, researchers, and advanced practice professionals. Schools with post-professional athletic training programs include:[9] A.T. Still University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Illinois State University, Indiana State University, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Ohio University, University of Oregon, California, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Old Dominion University, University of Toledo, University of Virginia, University of Missouri

There is currently one Doctor of Athletic Training program at the University of Idaho, which was designed to create advanced athletic training practicing professionals. There are also several doctoral programs that have a concentration in athletic training (laboratory research).

Treatment population and settings[edit]

Athletic trainers treat a broad population, from the amateur and professional athlete to the typical patient in need of orthopaedic rehabilitative care. The NATA describes typical clients groups as,

Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues. These may include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Delforge GD, Behnke RS. The history and evolution of athletic training education in the United States. J Athl Train. 1999;34(1):53–61. PMC free article PubMed
  2. ^ "Strategic implementation team defines profession". NATA News (12/2007): 14. 2007. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Athletic Trainers and Exercise Physiologists, on the Internet at (visited March 18, 2014).
  6. ^ Hunt, Valerie (2006). "Education continues to evolve: post-professional education expands". NATA News (1/2006): 14–19. 
  7. ^ "About CAATE". Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "What is an Athletic Trainer?". The Board of Certification Website. 2007. 
  9. ^