Athletic Training is healthcare. Not many people look at athletic training as a form of healthcare, however it is. There are many fundamental parts of healthcare that athletic trainers can provide. Athletic trainers provide care towards the prevention and wellness of injuries, but they do much more than that. Athletic Trainers can help athletes of all ages and patients going through rehabilitation in a clinic or in a hospital. The healthcare athletic trainers provide can vary in the different settings that they are placed in.
As an athletic training student, I have had the opportunity to observe healthcare provided by certified athletic trainers in different settings. These settings have included intercollegiate athletics and high school athletics. Each certified athletic trainer that I have worked with has had to provide different types of preventative care for athletes, different types of rehabilitation for athletes, and has had to deal with different types of injuries, all based on the type of athletic event they are working with. Amongst the various settings I have been able to observe, the certified athletic trainer is always on the sideline staying attentive to the activity that is happening. More thoroughly, the certified athletic trainer is always keeping an eye peeled for an injury to occur. During any athletic event at the high school that I have been working with, the certified athletic trainer is the first person to step on the field or court when an injury occurs. When completing an on-the-field evaluation, the certified athletic trainer takes the time to check the scene, check the patient, and call emergency medical services if necessary. When the certified athletic trainer gets to the patient, they perform a head-to-toe scan looking for any noticeable life threatening conditions like bleeding, consciousness, or airway obstruction. Once those noticeable life threatening conditions have been evaluated, the certified athletic trainer and any other emergency medical staff present will work to remove the patient from the scene to perform further care. Being an athletic training student, we are taught that airway obstruction and consciousness are the most important things to look for when performing an on-the-field evaluation because airway obstruction can lead to unconsciousness and both can lead to death. As an athletic training student we are given competency tests to complete. With skills of first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), minor wound care, major wound care, and steri strip application, I feel prepared to take care of immediate acute care. However, I am still learning.
Part of being considered a part of an emergency medical personnel team includes having good mental health and physical health. Athletic training is not a career for everyone. A person who wants to be an athletic trainer has to have the mental capacity to retain information over multiple special tests for different parts of the body to determine if an injury is what they think the pathology is. The person has to know the signs and symptoms of an injury to even be able to perform a special test to rule in or rule out a pathology. A person who is wanting to become an athletic trainer has to be comfortable with being wrong sometimes; knowing that there are many pathologies that have similar signs and symptoms or may have the same special test, which can lead to a misdiagnosis or a differential diagnosis. Athletic trainers cannot rely on the internet to help them with everything. They have to be able to perform special tests and provide a differential diagnosis on the spot after removing an injured athlete from participation. Not only does an athletic trainer have to think fast, but they also have to act fast. Athletic trainers have to be quick on their feet; implying that they have to be physically fit and capable to run distances to get to an injured athlete in the middle of a game. Part of being fit includes being able to lift someone smaller or larger than you; a person needs to have the physical strength to assist in lifting someone or lift someone by themself. A person needs to prepare themselves for these strenuous activities.
First, I will prepare myself by making sure my mental health is a priority. I will constantly remind myself that hard times will pass and that I will be okay. I will take school and work in doses. I will not focus on the bad part of a day, but rather focus on the successful parts I had. I will remind myself that it is okay to have a bad day. Sometimes people cannot give one hundred percent, sometimes they can only give eighty percent. However, on the days a person can only give eighty percent, they make up for it by having multiple days at one hundred percent. Second, I will ensure that my physical health is also a priority. Even if I do not go to the gym everyday, I will still ensure that my diet is healthy. I will make sure that my physical health is where it needs to be at all times in order to properly help and assist my patients. The rest of my life is not going to be easy. There will be bad days, good days, healthy days, and unhealthy days, but in the end, I need to make the most of my life and career. I cannot wait to be a certified athletic trainer.