Certified athletic trainers (A.T.C.) are medical experts in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. In the state of Wisconsin, athletic trainers are also licensed (L.A.T.). Athletic trainers can help avoid unnecessary medical treatment and disruption of normal daily life. If you are injured, they can get you on the mend and keep you on the move.
Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession, and the AMA recommends certified/licensed athletic trainers in every high school to keep America's youth safe and healthy. The A.T.C./L.A.T. specializes in five practice areas:
- Prevention of athletic injuries
- Recognition, evaluation and immediate care of athletic injuries
- Rehabilitation and reconditioning of athletic injuries
- Health care administration
- Professional development
The A.T.C./L.A.T. works under the direction of a licensed physician as part of the entire health care team.
You can find A.T.C./L.A.T.s wherever active people are. This includes: secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports, sports medicine clinics, corporate health programs, health clubs and industrial health care.
How to become a certified/licensed athletic trainer
Students who wish to become certified and licensed in the state of Wisconsin must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum or meet other requirements set by the Board of Certification (NATABOC).
There is a growing list of universities who have gained accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The programs include study in prevention of injuries and illness, emergency care, therapeutic modalities and exercise, human anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics and nutrition to mention a few. Classroom study is enhanced through clinical work in a variety of settings including scholastic sports, interscholastic sports and sports medicine clinics.
To become a certified athletic trainer, the NATABOC has developed a certification exam to ensure the high standards of professional practice. To sit for the exam, the student must earn a degree from an accredited entry-level athletic training curriculum. Consult the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification for more information.
The student must than pass an exam. Those who pass the exam must maintain their certification by meeting continuing education requirements. These include
- Completing and reporting continuing educational units
- Recertification of CPR at least once in each three-year term
- Adherence to the NATABOC Standards of Professional Practice
- Submission of annual dues
- Adherence to state licensure standards (in Wisconsin)
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