What is a Licensed Athletic Trainer (LAT)?
In 1971, Texas Became the First State to enact a law requiring athletic trainers to meet specific standards of education, professionalism, and ethics. Individuals practicing in the state of Texas must be duly licensed by the State Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers. The State Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers, a division of the Texas Department of Health, was established to govern the athletic trainer to ensure the criteria is met by each applicant for licensure. The Advisory Board administers the licensure examination and regulate the standards by which athletic trainers are held accountable. The education committee constantly upgrades the exam by reviewing the efficacy of the exam as well as determining new and changing applications of the profession.
An athletic trainer works with the consent of a physician or other health care provider licensed to refer, for the prevention, evaluation, treatment, and physical rehabilitation of a sports or sport related injury or illness. The athletic trainers works in a variety of settings, including secondary schools, college/universities, clinics, hospitals, and industrial/occupational settings. Athletic trainers are widely respected as the complete health care provider from prevention to return to activity.
Employing an athletic trainer demonstrates a commitment to the health and well being of young athletes. Early evaluation and treatment of injuries may reduce recovery time and decrease complications in the event of a severe injury. The licensed athletic trainer is well versed in all aspects of preventative medicine, including sport specific conditioning programs, taping, padding, and proper equipment fitting in team sports. Some insurance groups supplying secondary accident policies are now lowering premiums to those schools employing licensed athletic trainer.
What is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)?
Certified athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. As part of a complete health care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents.
Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. Accredited programs include formal instruction in areas such as injury/illness prevention, first aid and emergency care, assessment of injury/illness, human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic modalities, and nutrition. Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences. More than 70 percent of certified athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree.
To become certified athletic trainers, students must pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification. Once certified, they must meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified.