What is an Athletic Trainer?

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What is an Athletic Trainer?

  • Tandi Hawkey MA, ATC
  • Senior Staff Athletic Trainer
  • University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA: Champions Made Here

  • As of December 2015, UCLA has won 113 NCAA team championships, and 133 total national team championships—more than any other university

Definition of Certified Athletic Trainer

  • A certified athletic trainer (AT) is a highly educated and skilled health sciences professional specializing in athletic health care.
  • ATs provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions that occur to athletes and the physically active.
  • In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, athletic trainers functions as an integral member of the athletic health care team in secondary schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports programs, and other health care settings.

Role of Athletic Trainer

  • Prevention
  •  Taping, Padding, Bracing, Preventative Exercise Programs
  • Evaluation of Injuries/ Illness
  • Therapeutic Intervention
  •  Modalities, Manual Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  •  Therapeutic Exercise
  • First Aid
  • Emergency Medical Care
  • Practice/Game Coverage
  • Liaison to Other Medical Professionals (Physician, Mental Health Professionals, Dietitians)

Additional Responsibilities

  • Communication Liaison Between Athletes, Physicians, Coaches, Parents, Administration
  • Supervise Athletic Training Students, Interns
  • Administrative Duties
  •  Inventory
  •  Scheduling
  •  Insurance
  •  Injury Reporting/Documentation, Medical Chart Maintenance
  •  Other programs such as Wellness, Drug Testing, Mental Health

Job Opportunities

  • Collegiate Athletics
  •  Three Divisions in NCAA
  •  Total of ~1200 Schools
  • Professional Athletics
  •  MLB, NFL, NHL, MLS
  • Olympics

Job Opportunities

  • Clinical Setting / Clinic Outreach
    • Private or Hospital Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic
  • Industrial Setting
    • Factories, Assembly Plants, Etc.
  • Secondary School Athletics
    • High Schools, Middle Schools
  • Performing Arts
    • Broadway, Cirque de Soleil, Disney Resorts
  • Military

National Athletic Trainers Association

  • Provides resources to members and helps advance the profession of athletic training and enhance health care worldwide by providing:
  • NATA News magazine, Journal of Athletic Training
  • Salary Survey information
  • Online Career Center, Membership directory
  • Governmental affairs efforts
  • National, district and local public relations
  • Scholarship and research grants through the NATA Research & Education Foundation

Board of Certification (BOC)

  • The purpose of the BOC is to certify athletic trainers and to identify for the public, quality healthcare professionals through a system of certification, adjudication, standards of practice and continuing competency programs.
  • Certification and Maintenance of Continuing Education Units Required to Practice as an AT

Athletic Training Education

Educational Requirements

  • Candidates must graduate from an entry-level CAAHEP Accredited Athletic Training Curriculum.
  • Candidates must successfully complete an entry-level athletic training program accredited by CAAHEP, in no less than two academic years.
  • Courses of Study Include:
  • - Anatomy
  • - Kinesiology
  • - Human Physiology
  • - Exercise Physiology
  • - Biomechanics
  • - Nutrition
  • - Psychology
  • Athletic training students generally receive around 1200 “exposure hours”

Certification Exam

  • Three Part Exam
  • 1. Written
  • 2. Computer Practical
  • 3. Written Simulation
  • Exam Covers 5 Domains
    • Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection
    • Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
    • Immediate and Emergency Care
    • Treatment and Rehabilitation
    • Organizational and Professional Health and Well-Being

Continuing Education Requirements

  • Continuing education requirements are meant to ensure that individuals stay current in the field of athletic training.
  • The purposes of the requirements are that the certified athletic trainers continue to:
  • - Obtain current professional development information
  • - Explore new knowledge in specific content areas
  • - Master new athletic training-related skills and techniques
  • - Expand approaches to effective athletic training
  • - Further develop professional judgment
  • Five Categories:
  • 1. Approved Provider Program(Seminars, Workshops, Conferences, Home Studies, Quizzes)
  • 2. Professional Development
  • 3. College/University Course
  • 4. Emergency Cardiac Care
  • 5. Individualized Options

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program

  • Participation in the UCLA Undergraduate Sports Medicine Internship Program (SMIP) is a rewarding and educational experience.
  • As a participant of the program, the intern receives the opportunity to work and travel with national caliber athletic teams and coaches.
  • Under supervision, the intern will learn to recognize, evaluate and treat a variety of athletic injuries, as well as design and apply rehabilitation concepts. The intern will acquire skills and knowledge valuable to all health care fields. As with any internship, self-motivation, dedication, and initiative play a key role in the intern's success.
  • After completing the internship program our students pursue post-graduate education in athletic training, medicine, physical therapy and other allied health fields. Typically, our students major in physiological science, biology, or psychology.

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program

  • Applications are accepted at the end of a student’s first year at UCLA.
  • Applications for the fall quarter must be received by June of the previous school year.
    • The application requires two letters of recommendation and a written essay.
    • The Sports Medicine Internship Program requires a three-year commitment and only accepts students in the fall.
    • The prerequisites for the program include:
    • Must be a full-time UCLA undergraduate student with no less than three years remaining until graduation
    • Show proof of current CPR/AED/First Aid Certifications
    • 2.5 or Higher Cumulative GPA (must submit transcript or DPR)
    • Completion of an Anatomy Course by the 1st Quarter of the 2nd Year in the Program

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program Timeline of Program

  • Observation Period- First and Second Quarter
  • Learning experience for the intern and is part of the acceptance process.
    • Work Requirements: A minimum of 6-10 hours per week in the Acosta Athletic Training Room.
      • These hours will consist of various experiences including learning basic athletic training skills, knowledge of the use of therapeutic modalities, first aid and emergency procedures, and daily Athletic Training Room operations.
      • In order to be accepted into the program, the student will be evaluated on:
      • 1) grade point average
      • 2) competency and skill acquisition
      • 3) interview
      • 4) staff evaluation
      • This phase allows the potential intern to participate and observe if the program suits their career objectives, and gives the Sports Medicine Staff the opportunity to evaluate the students.

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program Timeline of Program

      • Third Quarter-Probationary Period
  • Once admitted to the program, the intern will be evaluated each quarter and performance and goals will be discussed.
  • Time Commitment: 10 to 15 hours per week
    • Students will rotate through a variety of experiences and acquire new skills through demonstration and practice. The intern will be expected to function and meet certain responsibilities. At the end of the quarter, the Director will evaluate the probationary interns for advancement into the next phase of the program.
  • Professional Phase-Quarters 4-9
  • The remaining time functions to expose the intern to as many clinical and educational experiences as possible in order to meet the challenges of their career goals.
  • Each intern is assigned to work with a UCLA athletic team and assist the ATs and MDs in providing healthcare to the student-athletes.
  • Time Commitment: 15-25 hours per week.
  • Interns in the second and third year of the program will receive a monetary stipend.

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program Summary of Timeline of Program

  • Application to Program: Deadline June 8th, Orientation During Fall Zero Week
  • 1st Year: Fall - 1st Observational Quarter Competency Workshops
  • Winter - 2nd Observational Quarter Competency Workshops, Interview During 8th Week to Determine Acceptance into SMIP
  • Spring - Complete UCLA Extension 10-Week Intro to Sports Medicine Course, Competency Workshops
  • 2nd Year: Fall - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment, Formal Peer Presentation at Monthly In-service
  • Winter - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment, Complete UCLA Extension 10-Week Advanced Sports Medicine Course
  • Spring - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
  • 3rd Year: Fall - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
  • Winter - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment
  • Spring - UCLA Athletic Team Assignment 3rd Year Case Study Based on Surgical Observation and Formal Peer Presentation

UCLA Sports Medicine Internship Program Benefits

  • Professional Networking
    • Work side by side with doctors, orthopedic surgeons, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, dietitians, podiatrists, and other allied health professionals.
  • Sports Medicine Classes
    • Expand sports medicine knowledge through two required UCLA Extension classes.
  • Educational In-services
    • Monthly sessions offer more educational experiences. Topics vary to cover professional development and skill enhancement.
  • Travel
    • Advanced students will travel with UCLA's intercollegiate athletic teams

Earnings Potential

  • According to the 2014 National Athletic Trainers' Association salary survey, the average annual salary for full-time athletic trainers is $53,000.
  • Salary depends on many factors, including level of education, job setting, job location and years of experience.
  • The benefits you receive as an athletic trainer may include paid vacation, health insurance and a pension plan.

Future of Athletic Training

  • Exploring different settings
  • International exposure
  • Number of jobs increasing annually
  • Breaking into healthcare billing system


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