by: Karli Persson, ATC
We’re in the midst of an exciting month in sports with many of our Redwood Valley athletes reaching state tournament play and spring sports are just around the corner. As an athletic trainer, I am so excited to be supporting these athletes as they achieve great things.
March is also Athletic Training month!
At Carris Health – Redwood, we have two athletic trainers on staff: myself and Heidi Irlbeck. Heidi has been the face for the athletic training program for 17 years, when she began volunteering her time at Redwood Valley High School after she would work as a physical therapist during the day. In June, I joined the staff as the primary athletic trainer, providing support and coverage for the nearly 200 athletes at Redwood Valley Schools.
So, what does an athletic trainer do?
I asked Amy Martius (RVHS senior athlete) this question. This is what she had to say, “takes care of athletes, makes sure their well-being and physical is well-kept. [Makes sure] rehab, taping, and protocols are done well.” While Amy is correct, she primarily commented on the first out of five domains that athletic trainers utilize when practicing – “Injury and Illness Prevention and Wellness Promotion.” Not only does an athletic trainer worry about injury prevention, they also promote wellness in their athletic population by encouraging healthy bodies and healthy minds.
There are a total of five domains that explain what an athletic trainer is and how we fit into the healthcare system:
- Injury and Illness Prevention and Wellness Promotion
- Examination, Assessment and Diagnosis
- Immediate and Emergency Care
- Therapeutic Intervention
- Healthcare Administration and Professional Responsibility
The second domain is “Examination, Assessment and Diagnosis.” When an athlete comes to us in pain, we use our training, skills, clinical experience, evidence-based practices, and patient and social values to formulate possible injuries. When we come to a differential diagnosis of what we believe it to be, we take action to assist the athlete to get back to health – which could include a referral to other healthcare professionals, or certain rehab instructions.
When spectators see an athletic trainer running onto the field or court during a game, they are recognizing our third domain, “Immediate and Emergency Care.” There are a wide range of injuries that an athletic trainer is trained to work with, from a spinal injury, a heat-related injury, to a sprained ankle. We are trained to make Emergency Action Plans to make emergency situations run smoothly.
The “behind the scene” domain, as I like to call it, involves assisting the athlete after the initial injury has occurred. “Therapeutic Intervention” is when an athletic trainer uses their skills and knowledge of rehab to help that athlete return to full participation. While this includes making sure the injured structure is in optimal health, it also includes reconditioning the athlete to perform at the level necessary.
The last, and certainly not least, domain is “Healthcare Administration and Professional Responsibility.” This includes pre-participation physical forms, conversations with physicians, and writing up evaluations. It is also imperative to our athlete’s safety that we keep our education up to date and in conjunction with the standard care that athletes require.
So if you’ve ever wondered, who is taking care of our athletes, I hope you are confident knowing Carris Health – Redwood athletic trainers are there, providing healthcare on and off the field. Happy National Athletic Training Month!
P.S. Thanks for reading this article and helping us promote athletic training month. I have one more favor to ask you: help us to promote athletic trainers by referring to us as “athletic trainer” or “AT” instead of simply a “trainer.” I look forward to hearing more “athletic trainers” in your conversations!