They’re on the sidelines for every game, in the training room during the day and in the weight room or at every practice to help student athletes.
More often than not, athletic trainers will be the first medical professional a student athlete sees when they’re dealing with an injury, or if they’re trying to prevent one. They also often play a much larger role in an athlete’s overall development than helping with an injury.
“A lot of people think we’re like personal trainers, but that’s not what we do,” says Becky Abrams, a certified athletic trainer with Billings Clinic’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine department. “We specialize in injury prevention, on-field evaluations, athletic training room coverage, emergency care, rehabilitation of injuries and concussion recognition and management. It’s a whole range of things we’re there for.”
Athletic training can include prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses, while providing medical services to all types of patients, not just athletes participating in sports. “Compassionate Care for All” is the theme of this year’s National Athletic Training Month, held every March and sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and is a fitting description of the wide range of people and ailments trainers work with daily.
Athletic trainers are a highly-trained and skilled group of professionals, requiring a master’s degree, who spend their days working with and learning about the athletes they see every day. A Jack-of-all-trades, an athletic trainer’s day could include checking out minor bumps and bruises for one athlete, evaluating a possible concussion for another, setting a rehabilitation plan for an injured elbow for another and referring yet another to a hospital or specialized medical professional.
“To have somebody skilled in recognizing so many different injuries and ailments is a real benefit to the athletes, their parents and the schools,” says Abrams. “It’s a reassurance that you will get through this, whatever it might be, and that you’ll be prepared for what’s to come.”
Billings Clinic athletic trainers work with high schools and middles schools throughout Billings and the surrounding areas to provide medical care for athletes. They head to games and tournaments with the schools they serve, ready on the benches and sidelines to provide the right care at the right time.
It’s not just athletes they work with and get to know. The athletic trainers spend long hours with the coaches, administrators and parents as well, providing key information about an injury or rehabilitation.
“It’s important to get to know the other people who are involved in these athletes’ lives,” says Abrams. “We can help to educate everybody on injuries, nutrition, equipment or anything else they need.”
Billings Clinic offers athletic training services at schools throughout the area, as well as specialized sport-specific training through its Elite SST program, with a team of qualified and highly trained professionals.
For more information, visit www.billingsclinic.com or call (406) 238-2500.
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