What does a athletic trainer do?
If you’ve ever watched a sports game where a player got hit too hard and stayed down on the ground after the play ended, then you’ve probably seen an athletic trainer at work. They are the people who come running onto the field to help the player up and onto the sidelines, either using their own shoulders as support or stretchers in really bad cases.
As an athletic trainer the first thing you do if a player gets injured on the field is to go to them, and quickly. Right there you figure out what the injury is, and if they can continue to play. If not, you find a way to stabilize the injury and get the player off the field where you can then take a closer look to decide what the next step needs to be for the player.
These next steps might mean taking them in for x-rays, icing an ankle, or wrapping an elbow. This is also the time when you decide if they can be cleared to go back in and continue playing.
After a game ends your job still continues. Trainers work with players to teach special exercises and stretches that will strengthen their muscles and protect their bones, keeping them from getting hurt in the future. You’re also present at all practices to tape up or brace injuries that are healing, monitor hurt players, and help if a new injury happens.
You don’t just work with professional athletes; organizations at all levels from high schools to club teams to college sports have athletic trainers, so you can choose to work with any age or ability level you want.