What is the Job of an Athletic Trainer?

What is the Job of an Athletic Trainer?

March 4, 2024

If you watch professional, collegiate, and even some high school sports, you might notice someone on the sideline with a bag of medical supplies. This person tends to the athletes when they get injured. They are ready for a medical emergency. This person is an Athletic Trainer (AT), and they play a vital role in keeping student-athletes safe. Athletic trainers are health care professionals.

What is an Athletic Trainer?

But what exactly is an athletic trainer? According to the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), “Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an allied health care profession.”

Athletic Trainers Expertise

Athletic trainers are highly qualified, and they provide service under the direction or in collaboration with a physician. Athletic trainer services include, but are not limited to:
  • Primary Care
  • Injury and Illness Prevention
  • Wellness Promotion & Education
  • Emergent Care
  • Examination and Clinical Diagnosis
  • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Rehabilitation of Injuries and Medical Conditions

We saw the lifesaving actions of the athletic training staff of the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, 2023, when Damar Hamlin collapsed during a Monday Night Football game.

The Need for More ATs

While professional sports organizations are equipped with the necessary resources, personnel, and equipment, this is not the case at every level of sports. In college, athletic trainer coverage can vary. Some higher-level schools have an athletic trainer for every team so that person can focus on those athletes. At other levels, the athletic training staff may have to split duties and cover a different team each season.

At the high school level, resources may even be more limited. According to The Korey Stringer Institute, 35% of high schools in the United States do not have access to athletic trainer services. Most high schools that do have athletic trainer services often have one person to cover every team at the school. That means, one athletic trainer can be responsible for up to 20 or more teams. It is impossible to everywhere at once, so they have to do their best to treat each athlete and also be ready to respond to an emergency.

Athletic trainers play a crucial role in being prepared and responding to sudden cardiac arrest emergencies. They are imperative in putting the Chain of Survival into motion. It is important all athletic trainers are equipped with an AED and that coaches understand the emergency action plan created by the AT.


There are opportunities for schools and school districts that do not have athletic trainer services to work with The Korey Stringer Institute and their innovATe program. This stands for Improving Needed Nationwide Opportunities & Value of Athletic Trainer Employment. The innovATe project will provide support to 10-14 school districts currently without athletic training services to enhance health care for student athletes. If you are aware of a school or district in need for Athletic Trainer Services, please refer them to this program.

To learn more about Defibtech and to join us on our quest to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, visit www.Defibtech.com.