In honor of my dear husband passing his athletic training boards (way to go!), I thought I would do a post on what his job will entail.
Student athletes, coaches and those in the sports medicine field tend to have a good understanding of how important an athletic trainer is to the safety and rehabilitation of athletes, but a lot of people get confused about what an athletic trainer does. Some can graduate with an athletic training degree in undergrad, while others go to graduate school (Sean will finish his masters in May).
Athletic trainers spend a lot of time with injury prevention and rehabilitation. Some examples are taping ankles before practice, stretching, using heat and cold therapy and other therapeutic modalities.
Another important aspect of an athletic trainer's job is emergency injury triage. When a player gets injured during a game, it's the athletic trainer's responsibility (along with the team physician, if applicable) to determine level of injury, what diagnostic tests might be required and whether the athlete is still eligible to play.
Sean did consider physical therapy when in school, but after working with Mizzou football, he realized his passion is working with athletes that really have a drive to get better and perform. There are some PTs who specialize in sports medicine, but in general most large universities hire athletic trainers to be a part of their staff.
Sean really likes working with collegiate level athletes, but other common places an athletic trainer might work include: high schools, physical therapy clinics and orthopedic surgeon offices. It is growing more popular for orthopedic surgeons to hire athletic trainers as physician extenders due to their specialized training and knowledge of musculo-skeletal conditions.
The bottom line for me is that Sean really loves what he does and he's good at it. It's so great to know that he is happy with his career choice and is excited to finally be working in the field on his own. His job will likely entail some nights and weekends (since that's when games are played!), but knowing that his job is fulfilling to him is worth any crazy schedule that might be thrown our way.