Swipe to the right

Cramer’s Advisory Council Shares Their Views

June 1, 2018

We asked several members of the 2017-18 Advisory Council for their perspective on where our profession is heading. Not surprisingly, their answers underscore the need for the profession to be nimble and responsive to the ever-changing needs of the athlete, the organizations they serve and the general public.

Since its establishment in 2002, Cramer Advisory Council members have represented broad and numerous areas served by athletic trainers, including NCAA and NAIA universities, high schools, the military and orthopedic clinics. The members are valued partners in the development process for new and innovative Cramer products. Appreciating their expertise and passion, we asked several members of the 2017-18 Advisory Council for their perspective on where our profession is heading. Not surprisingly, their answers underscore the need for the profession to be nimble and responsive to the ever-changing needs of the athlete, the organizations they serve and the general public.

Story participants: Jose Fonseca, MS,ATC,LAT, Duke University-Men’s Basketball, Durham, NC;Chase Paulson, MS,ATC, Diamond Bar High School, Diamond Bar, CA ;Sandy Snow, MS,ATC, New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute, Manchester, NH; Mike Van Bruggen, MS,LAT,ATC,AEMT, Carson-Newman University, Jefferson City, TN; Phillip Vardiman, PhD, LAT, ATC, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; Lisa Walker, ATC, Springville High School, Springville, UT

Cramer: How do you see the role of an AT changing over the next 15-20 years?

Jose:I would like to see them more well-rounded as health care professionals as well as more knowledgeable in areas of nutrition, mental health, performance, and healthy living; instead of just prevention and care of athletic injuries and rehabilitation.

Chase:At the secondary school setting, I believe the AT role will not evolve much beyond what it is now due partly in fact to the various hiring practices (FTE, clinic outreach, hospital-based, etc.). Until every secondary school in America has a full-time certified AT on staff, our role will always have variance. If that dream were to become reality, then I could very well see the AT being the point of contact for the majority of student-healthcare outside normal school hours as they expand their sports medicine teams to include physicians, specialists, etc. As we move away from the athletic model of supervision to the medical model ATs will have a much greater sense of ethical freedom as their clinical decisions are not tied to their employment (meaning if an AT holds out a star athlete they will not get fired by the AD who is their boss). I also see outside the secondary school setting that ATs expand their role in the industrial setting as more corporations hire ATs to prevent injuries on the job and saving companies’ workers' comp claims.

Sandy: ATs will hopefully receive greater recognition as qualified primary care/medical providers as we are often the first point of contact with the healthcare system for our patients. As such, ATs will be able to act as primary care providers to a diverse patient population in traditional and emerging settings. Theoretically, this will lead to decreased impairments, disability, and functional and societal limitations. ATs will also receive greater appreciation for being comprehensive allied healthcare providers, proficient in injury prevention, examination and diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of mild, moderate, severe and catastrophic type injuries and certain medical conditions.

Mike:I see an increased emphasis on injury prevention and continued expansion of employment opportunities into areas such as performing arts, law enforcement, and the military.

Phil:There is a continued introduction of Athletic Training into all areas of healthcare. We continue to see growth in settings where Athletic Trainers are well known and settings that would be considered new to Athletic Training all because they have found the value of our expertise and versatility.

Lisa:I see the role of the AT changing in the next 15 to 20 years to be that of a more specialty based AT. I see our profession emerging from a general practitioner (one who deals with the aspects of prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation), to the AT who furthers their education and skills to specialize in one or more of these areas.

Cramer: What will future AT’s find to be their biggest challenge in fulfilling their roles?

Lisa:I believe the biggest challenge in fulfilling their roles will be similar to today’s challenges; the name of the profession as well as funding for what we do.

Phil:I believe that future AT’s will have to adapt their current thoughts about continued education, fellowship, and residency educational experiences to match the demand of the settings that we will be working in. It will be a natural growth of our profession.

Mike:I think the entire health care world is likely to see great changes down the road. How all health care professions fit in will be interesting to see play out. AT's need to continue to put our best feet forward with injury prevention and our versatility as practitioners.

Sandy: Practicing across state lines and other compliance/liability issues (example – needing a supervising physician and standing orders, etc.). Battling trends in the media (example – fads endorsed by celebrities).

Chase:I believe it will be the same as it has been for the last decade: recognition. As a whole, our profession is still being confused with personal trainers, or jobs being filled with unqualified individuals who think they can perform our job functions. The ability for an AT to find recognition at their worksite is determined by their professionalism, and that recognition cannot be forced by the AT. The supervising staff, support staff, and coworkers will only truly value the AT if the AT proves they are worth valuing.

Jose:ATs will need to expend their education to be in line with physician’s assistants.

Cramer: What trends are shaping our profession?

Sandy: Sport-related concussion assessment and rehabilitation (return to learn and return to play); Manual therapies/manual modalities (muscle energy, IASTM, mobilizations, dry needling); Injury prevention (ACL, chronic ankle instability, etc.); Work-life balance

Mike:I believe the expansion into military and law enforcement landscapes is having a dynamic effect on the profession and will continue to do so.

Chase:I believe the shift is moving towards utilizing our hands more with manual therapy rather than traditional modalities. Many different forms of manual therapy have popped up in recent years and the field of athletic training has been quick to catch on to using them in practice. I also see the trend of social media being used in a positive manner for telemedicine as athletic trainers use sites like Facebook and twitter to communicate and bounce ideas off one another.

Phil:Innovation and awareness of value. I believe that individuals have taken risks in new settings and have been able to show the value of Athletic Trainers in those areas. They believed in their skills and abilities and were able to show how the Athletic Trainer was a good fit to fill and existing gap in a healthcare practice.

Lisa:The transition to the entry level masters, educating the public of who we are and what we do, insurance companies willingness or lack of willingness to recognize and work with the AT, and the creation of jobs. We need to continue to move forward to protect individuals and allow for choice when an individual is choosing a provider for their health care needs.

Jose: New education requirements; Manual Therapy Techniques; Recovery Techniques; Wearables.