March observance celebrates role of athletic trainers

An exhibit celebrating the role of athletic trainers in the healthcare system will be on display at Minot sports and healthcare venues during the month of March, according to a press release from Trinity Hospital. March is National Athletic Training Month.

Robyn Gust, manager of Trinity Health’s Sports Medicine Department, said the goal of the exhibit is to educate the public about what athletic trainers do and what they don’t do.

Certified athletic trainers aren’t personal trainers who focus on fitness and conditioning. Rather they’re healthcare professionals who practice in collaboration with physicians and other health team members to safeguard the health of physically active individuals and sports participants throughout all stages of life.

“Our role is to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries and medical conditions,” Gust said. “There’s a myth that all athletic trainers do is tape ankles and hand out ice. Actually we’re qualified to handle a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. Brain and spinal cord injuries and conditions such as heat illness can be life threatening if not recognized and managed properly. That’s what we’re trained to do.”

The American Medical Association and Department of Health and Human Services both recognize athletic trainers as allied health professionals. Certified athletic trainers must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, although many have advanced degrees.

Gust said another misconception is that athletic trainers are limited to traditional athletic settings. However, many operate in hospitals, schools, clinics, military, and industrial settings.

She said the theme for National Athletic Training Month, “Compassionate Care for All,” is a good reminder that athletic trainers care for people of all ages. “If you’re an older adult who gets injured playing softball, we’re here for you as much we’re here for our school athletes,” Gust added.