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When To Go To An Athletic Trainer For An Injury

March 13, 2018

Soreness in your quad muscle. Pain in your foot when you wake up that diminishes as the day goes on. Lingering tenderness from a previous injury.

If you have any of these symptoms, you may have tried to self-treat the problems and wait for them to go away. But a more effective approach might be to consult with your athletic trainer. An athletic trainer can provide treatment and advice for sports injuries, but also for a lot more. If you feel sick or have bleeding or abdominal pain, an athletic trainer can help. 

What is an athletic trainer?

An athletic trainer (AT) is a healthcare professional who works with physicians to help prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, and who can help recovery after an injury. Although ATs often work with high schools, colleges and professional sports teams, they also work with rehabilitation centers, physicians’ offices, the military and the performing arts.

As you’d imagine, becoming an AT requires extensive medical training. Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited bachelor’s or master’s program— most (70%) ATs have a master’s degree and soon all ATs will need a master’s degree. In addition, athletic trainers must be licensed or regulated in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Also, 48 states and Washington, D.C. require ATs attain the Athletic Trainer Certified (ATC) credential.

When to go an athletic trainer?

Certainly an athletic trainer who is on duty during a sporting event can help you if you get injured. An AT can answer questions and concerns about training and help you rehab after an injury. 

Since an AT has a broad base of knowledge, the AT can be the resource—or at least the starting point—for questions about illnesses, such as the flu or cold, sprains and fractures, infections, rashes, and bleeding. 

If you have a life-threatening emergency, such as chest pain, symptoms of stroke or profuse bleeding, you should go to the emergency room. But if your health issue is concerning or nagging, your AT may be able to provide just the care you need.

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