Jan 29, 2015
Emerging Opportunities for Athletic Trainers

On Thursday afternoon, both veteran and brand new athletic trainers who are interested in an emerging opportunity in the field will be interested in attending the special topic session “Athletic Trainers as Medical Coordinators: Aces in Their Places.” Mark Cole, PhD, ATC, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Western Illinois University, will lead this special topic session. Here is Cole’s summary of what he will cover:

The presentation is designed to share some experiences from athletic trainers whose work includes situations where their roles overlap with what would be considered the medical coordinator. We’ll examine the careers of these individuals, and the sporting events they worked and compare them to the common perception of what a medical coordinator is and what they do.

The best example of this is the Incident Command System, which has a central command person who delegates resources and every aspect has what we call an ‘ace in their place.’ The more we looked at the data, the more we realized that this reflects an athletic trainer’s role. They are often the person who plans, prepares, and manages events all season long. We’re going to present those similarities to the group. The data we found says that athletic trainers are very good medical coordinators for large sporting events, and this is probably an emerging practice area for the field.

When we were researching, the hook was the cyclic nature in planning-preparation-response-recovery. In a high school setting, the summer is when everyone prepares for the fall sports, and then you’re dealing with issues that just line themselves up. When the fall season is over, you’re doing things to prepare for winter, but also to recover before the next line of issues. And that cycle just spins and spins. If you’ve been around a few years, hopefully you do a good job and have it down to a science. That cycle is the same for coordinating a community 10K race, or a larger event. The numbers are a little bigger, but the planning and preparation are the same.

I hope those in attendance leave with the knowledge that their training can be applied to more situations than they typically cover. If they realize that their strengths are very similar to a number of other professions, and they collaborate and cooperate with those other professions, they can accomplish amazing things–like putting on a safe Ironman triathlon. That’s just another day for an athletic trainer, whereas for someone who doesn’t do that everyday, it’s a huge undertaking.

The special topic session, “Athletic Trainers as Medical Coordinators: Aces in Their Places,” is on Thursday afternoon from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.

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