Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are responsible for the health and safety of athletes. They are professionals in the areas of prevention, care and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Athletic trainers may also act as a first responder, counselor, liaison and role model in various situations.
Having an ATC on staff at all high schools is imperative to every athlete’s health and safety. Trainers provide services that can assist student-athletes in time of an emergency, use prevention techniques to help avoid injuries and illnesses and rehabilitate them back to sport-specific activity.
As parents or guardians who may have children attending high school and playing sports, you should ask your student’s high school administrators about this role.
Having an athletic trainer cover weekly football practices and games will improve overall player health. During hot summer practices, they can ensure their athletes are hydrating to prevent heat illness, dehydration and muscle injuries. If a head injury occurs during a practice or game, having an athletic trainer on site to evaluate the athlete can help prevent further injury and harm.
Many individuals and coaches help your children develop as athletes, but they shouldn't also have the responsibility of evaluating athletic injuries and illnesses or administering first aid or emergency skills when a child has a serious injury. That’s why every high school across the country should have an athletic trainer on staff to provide care for all the school’s athletes.
Athletic trainers are vital to any athletic department because of their training, skills and communication with athletes, coaches, administrators, parents and other medical professionals in the community.
Having an athletic trainer on staff at high schools for practice and game coverage is a game changer. Get to know your athletic trainer, and if you don’t have one at your child’s high school, talk to an administrator.
This change will make sports safer for all athletes in your child’s high school.
Laura Schnettgoecke is in her third season with the San Francisco 49ers as the team’s assistant athletic trainer. Before joining the 49ers, she was the head athletic trainer for the women’s soccer team at Texas Tech University. As a graduate assistant at Clemson University, she worked with 21 intercollegiate sports. She also was a student trainer at Kansas State University.