What is an Athletic Trainer?
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association website, an athletic trainer (ATC) is a highly qualified, multi-skilled licensed health care professionals that acts as a first responder to a variety of injuries/incidents that occur during sporting events. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions, among other duties. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes. Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program.
Athletic trainers are sometimes confused with personal trainers. There is, however, a large difference in the education, skill set, job duties and patients of an athletic trainer and a personal trainer. The athletic training academic curriculum and clinical training follows the medical model. Athletic trainers provide medical services to all types of patients, not just athletes participating in sports, and can work in a variety of job settings. Learn more about the education of athletic trainers.
When to see my Athletic Trainer?
In the event of an injury, it is always advisable, and greatly appreciated, to notify the athletic trainers and your respective coach as soon as possible. This can be done via email, or student-athletes can drop by the athletic training room prior to participating in the next practice/game after an injury has taken place. Early communication is very important for early diagnosis and expedited recovery. The athletic trainer will then determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary or recommended.* If the doctor’s visit can’t wait, maintain communication with sports medicine staff regarding PCP visits, specialist visits, restrictions, and return to play. It does not matter if the athlete is out-of-season, we are still happy to assess injuries that may have occurred outside of their school sport, but we may have to prioritize in-season athletes in the athletic training room.
*If the injury occurred during a school-sponsored sport, please obtain insurance documentation from the athletic trainer if you visit a doctor.
What if I have to go to the Doctor?
If you choose to visit the doctor before seeing the athletic trainer, please communicate this both to your respective coach and the athletic trainers. It helps give them all the information to give you the best care possible and to return to participation in a safe manner. Please provide any medical documentation, doctor’s notes, imaging results, etc. that you may receive from your visit to the athletic trainers as well.
We understand that parents have preferences about who treats their child. We partner with all area physicians in an effort to profide the best care possible. We are happy to provide our expertise and professional opinion when selecting a specialist. Our preferred sports medicine provider is the Center for Physical Rehabilitation, and our team physicians are Dr. Erik Hedlund, DO (Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan) and Dr. Tim Tobolic, MD (Byron Family Medicine).
Physical Therapy at The Center
Our preferred physical therapy provider is The Center for Physical Rehabilitation (CPR). If physical therapy is indicated, we can help expedite the process, as CPR also employs your Byron Center athletic trainers. The close working relationship we have with CPR lends itself to outstanding care and communication, as well as many advantages for our student-athletes. Not only does CPR provide complimentary 15-minute consults at each of our 5 clinics, but BC is also visited weekly during the school year by an experienced physical therapist in order to see our athletes at a convenient time and location.
We understand that you have a choice in your physical therapy provider, and we appreciate every athlete, parent, and coach that chooses to put their trust in us. If you choose to visit an alternative sports medicine provider, please make an effort to maintain an open line of communication with our sports med staff. It helps us keep track of the progress and return to play status of our 300+ BC athletes.