What interested you in becoming an athletic trainer?

I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was when I started college. I had a work-study job in the stadium and had frequent interactions with the athletic trainers and the athletic training students. After talking with them, I realized that I wanted a job where I could make an impact on the healthcare of student-athletes.

What physical and/or soft skills do you need to have to succeed?

An athletic trainer needs to be able to stand for long periods and be able to lift at least 25 pounds. In terms of soft skills, athletic trainers need to have excellent communication skills, empathy, and compassion. Additionally, they need to be able to use critical thinking and have effective time management skills.

What advice would you give to interested students?

If a student is interested in athletic training, I would encourage them to reach out to a local high school to complete observation hours. There is so much more that goes on in an athletic training room than people realize. Having a thorough understanding of what an athletic trainer does can make you fall in love with the career.

What interested you in working at Cleveland Clinic?

Cleveland Clinic is known for its world-class healthcare. I was excited to be a part of an environment that thrives on being a leader in patient care, specifically in sports medicine.

What excites you about being an athletic trainer?

My favorite part about being an athletic trainer is that every day is different. I currently work at a high school. The day-to-day operations may be the same, but each time a new injury comes in, it changes how my workday will look.

What has been your most gratifying experience as an athletic trainer? 

My most gratifying experience as an athletic trainer is helping an athlete return to play. Often, athletic trainers are the first individuals who evaluate and diagnose an injury. Then, we rehabilitate them to get their range of motion, strength, and functional ability back to normal. That process, no matter how short or long it takes, can be a challenge for the athletes to progress through. Seeing the athlete return to sport is extremely gratifying.

What career options do you have in this field?

The opportunities as an athletic trainer are endless. For the most part, athletic trainers work in public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities, and professional and Olympic sports. However, there are many other options. Athletic trainers can work in a physician's practice or a physical therapy clinic. Additionally, athletic trainers can work with law enforcement agencies, performing arts, and the military. Athletic trainers can also work in the educational setting, either at a high school or a collegiate level. Having an athletic training degree can also pave the pathway to other healthcare careers, such as physical therapy or physician assistant.

What is something others may not know about this career field? What are some common misconceptions?

Many individuals only see an athletic trainer on the sideline providing first aid and emergency care. However, athletic trainers do a lot of “behind the scenes work”. This can include organizing physicals and other administrative duties, documentation of notes, and pre- and post-game/practice treatments.

The most common misconception within the field of athletic training is the nomenclature associated with it. We are commonly called “trainers”, which does not give a comprehensive explanation of what we do. We are often confused with personal trainers, which is a drastically different career. Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable on evaluation and diagnoses, emergency care, and rehabilitation. Personal trainers create exercise plans with the intent of achieving a fitness goal.

How has the career field changed since you started? What does the future look like?

When I started in the athletic training profession, there were mostly only jobs open that worked with the athletic population. Now, there are so many more opportunities, such as the military, performing arts, and physician offices. Also, when I started, a bachelor’s degree was required. Now, a master’s degree is required to become an athletic trainer.

The future of athletic training will show a continued growth and evolvement of the profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow 20-30% by 2030. Athletic trainers will continue to expand into different settings as there is an increased recognition and respect for what we do for the healthcare of patients.

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