Dec 28, 2017
Meet and Greet
Timothy Neal

As many of you well know, athletic trainers have a great deal in common with other health care professionals. Besides taking similar coursework in college, athletic trainers obtain certifications and/or licenses, just as physical therapists, nurses, and mental health counselors do, and we often collaborate with these individuals while caring for athletes. Therefore, it behooves the athletic trainer to develop a better understanding of other related health care professions.

Perhaps a good way to start developing this understanding is by attending a local, state, or national meeting of another health care profession. This could include presenting at a meeting on a topic that the athletic trainer and other health care professionals provide care for, such as heat-related illnesses, sickle cell crisis, emergency planning and care, hands-on rehabilitation, or mental health awareness and referral. Additionally, other health care professionals can speak at athletic trainer meetings in order to raise awareness on topics including alcohol and drug addiction, eating disorders, mental health screening endeavors, or rehabilitation approaches to various injuries.

One doesn’t have to have a formal relationship with an organization to benefit from their expertise. I recommend searching for local or state health care professions meetings and seeing if topics being discussed there would interest you.

Though the NATA has formal relationships with other organizations and health care professions through liaisons, one doesn’t have to have a formal relationship with an organization to benefit from their expertise. I recommend searching for local or state health care professions meetings and seeing if topics being discussed there would interest you or enhance your professional knowledge. Though most of these non-athletic training meetings don’t offer BOC CEUs, there is value in attending an occasional conference or seminar as time and budgeting is appropriate.

As an example of this cross-professional collaboration, I was asked to speak at a meeting for Mental Health America (MHA) one year. After my initial conference, I could see where collaborating with MHA could be of benefit and recommended to the NATA that a formal relationship be developed. Now as NATA liaison to MHA, I attend their annual meeting in June every year to strengthen our collaboration and learn new concepts to be passed along to NATA members. In return, Paul Gionfriddo, MHA President and CEO, has spoken at regional athletic trainers’ meetings.

By attending meetings of other health care groups, the athletic trainer can not only improve in their understanding of a specific topic, but can also network with other professionals. Through this networking, others can learn of the passion, education, skills, and training of the certified athletic trainer, gaining more respect for what we can provide.


Timothy Neal, MS, AT, ATC, CCISM, is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Athletic Training Education at Concordia University Ann Arbor. Previously, he spent more than 30 years at Syracuse University, serving in a variety of sports medicine roles. Neal is also a member of the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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