March 7, 2013

Some professions do not agree with the athletic training scope. They believe that we are not qualified to do the things that are do well everyday. They would like to relegate athletic trainers to ancillary staff in clinics and not use the skills off of a football sideline.

In health care the people that we treat are patients, but athletic trainers are not supposed to refer to them as such. Athletic trainers treat patients in a number of settings, including settings where student-athletes are treated. Military, industrial, clinical, hospital, and performing arts are all settings that athletic trainers provide treatment of injury and illness. When someone seeks the care of an athletic trainer they are a patient.

Even though athletic trainers perform a clinical evaluation, it is not supposed to be called that. The clincial evaluation that is included in athletic training education is on par with any other allied health care professional treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions. The evaluation is a clincal evaluation because it fits the definition of what we do:

An evaluation of whether a patient has symptoms of a disease, is responding to treatment, or is having adverse reactions to therapy

For some reason athletic trainers do not provide “treatment of injury or illness.” I am honestly not sure where to start with this. What do athletic trainers do? Not treat injury and illness? Treat something other than injury or illness? The statement that athletic trainers do anything other than treatment of injury or illness is preposterous. Every single day athletic trainers do exactly that. For another health care professional organization to submit that it should not be in practice act language is unfortunate.

And lastly, and the most telling, is that athletic trainers providing “rehabilitation” is not appropriate. This is within the scope of athletic training practice. It is a crucial part of the education of athletic trainers. Rehabilitation, as some believe, is not owned by anyone. It is well within the athletic trainer’s scope to provide rehabilitation services to their patients in the course of treatment for their injury after a clinical evaluation has taken place.

Do not believe that others will provide anything but misinformation in targeting the athletic training profession. If they perceive a the potential for a threat to what they believe they own misinformation is just one way that they will do it. It is sad, unfortunate, and true.

This is why athletic trainers, students, and patients need to strongly support proper regulation that will allow ATs to practice within their scope. Legislators need to be educated on accurate information from athletic trainers. Otherwise they will rely on the information that others are more than willing to feed them. Understand, legislators may not know what an athletic trainer is and may not realize that this is misinformation. All that they know is that they need to make the best decision for the public. They may not be experts in health care. Take the time to educate your legislators, it will pay dividends in the future.


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