Thank you to the athletic trainer…

Being that it is March – proclaimed annually as National Athletic Trainers’ Month – I felt it important to spread some appreciation throughout the profession that I love. This blog is dedicated to all of the amazing certified/licensed athletic trainers (ATs) throughout the world. Thank you.

  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who have paved the way for what we are able to enjoy today. From the original founders of the profession in the ’40s and 50’s to those who have earned the great distinction of being inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame, We appreciate all who have played a powerful role in the continuous growth of the profession. This also includes all of our mentors. Thank you for helping us to learn from our mistakes, for providing us with new ideas and approaches, and for supporting us in our growth.
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who have saved lives. There have been many, many ATs who have quickly and effectively responded to cardiac arrests, breathing emergencies, anaphylactic reactions, and life-threatening head and spine injuries. Thank you for your swift reactions which, in many cases not only improved outcomes, but also saved lives. The families of those who you saved thank you as well.
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who go above and beyond. You know who you are. Those ATs who do much more than simply ice every injury, bandage every wound, and tape every ankle. Those who earn great rapport. You connect with parents of young athletes. You are the trusted first resource who will listen to any injury concern. You write up and ensure understanding of home therapeutic exercise programs. You work to establish injury prevention programs so that those you work with can continue to thrive at what they love (or need) to do. You frequently reflect on your processes to find ways to improve, for the benefit of your organization/team, while also seeking self-improvement by keeping up with the latest in sports medicine. Thank you for not just doing the bare minimum..
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who have showcased the diversity of our dynamic skill set. Not all “athletes” wear jerseys.  We are referring to the ATs who have worked your way into successful positions in occupational/corporate health, physicians’ offices, the military and public safety, hospital emergency departments, and performing arts.  You have proven that our professional training and diversely-applicable skill set can help not only traditional athletes, but almost anybody who is physically active and/or has physical demands placed upon them on a daily basis. Continue to show positive return on investment and cost avoidance while helping people stay healthy and on-the-job, allowing them to make a living to support themselves and their families.
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who refer to themselves as “athletic trainers”. Thank you for being proud of your name, credentials, and profession. You refuse to call yourself “trainer” in the public eye (and ear), and are not afraid to tactfully and respectfully correct and educate those who may not understand the difference – that we are allied healthcare professionals. We also highly value and appreciate the role of fitness/personal/sports trainers (thank you for all you do as well!). Athletic trainers and fitness/personal/sports trainers make an awesome team when they work cooperatively together. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who work cooperatively and effectively across professions. You overlook the idea of “turf war” and embrace the complementary strengths of other healthcare, fitness, and wellness professionals, working together in the best interests of your clients/patients. You obtain permission to share pertinent information, and you maintain communication on a timely basis to ensure consistency of care and optimal outcomes. Thank you for recognizing when something is beyond your scope and warranting referral.
  • Thank you to the athletic trainers who mentor the next generation of athletic trainers. You educate, you challenge, and you provide opportunities for growth. Not simply signing off on reviews, you mentor your students while taking a genuine interest in their career aspirations. You co-develop goals for developing and maximizing their strengths while also addressing the areas they need to enhance. You also have a keen eye for “future talent” when interacting with youth, cultivating their budding interest in sports medicine. Continue to teach them the value of continuous personal and professional growth, the importance of developing solid interpersonal skills, and improved self-awareness to recognize and accept when mistakes are made – embracing them as an opportunity to learn.

Thank you to the athletic trainers who make a difference.  The unsung heroes of sports medicine.  To the the 44,000+ of you.


Ryan Stevens, MPS, LAT/ATC, CSCS

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