Benefits of an Athletic Trainer
Benefits of a Certified Athletic Trainer On & Off the Field
Meet Our Expert:
Michael Smuda, MSAT, ATC, LAT
Physician Extender/Certified Athletic Trainer
University of Maryland Orthopaedics
Q: What is an Athletic Trainer (ATC) and what can they do?
Michael Smuda: An Athletic Trainer, or ATC, is a multi-skilled healthcare professional that provides medical services and treatment under the direction or collaboration of a physician within their state statutes. Treatments includes injury prevention, emergent care, clinical evaluation of injuries, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.
Q: Where do Athletic Trainers work?
Michael Smuda: Athletic Trainers are currently working within several different settings. They can be found working in educational institutions like high schools and colleges where they provide support for all of the student athletes at their respective institutions. ATCs can also work along physicians in the clinical setting, acting as physician extenders to improve the efficiency and flow of clinic, as well as acting as patient liaisons managing post-operative care. They are also working with the military and with other first responders to help keep them safe on and off duty. Additionally, Athletic Trainers work with all professional sports teams and are also working within the performing arts.
University of Maryland Athletic Trainers, along with our physicians, currently serve as the official medical provider of the Terps, and support Howard County Public Schools' sports teams, in addition to providing care in the clinical setting.
Q: Why are Athletic Trainers important?
Michael Smuda: Athletic Trainers are the ones who quickly respond to injuries on the field or in the workplace, and have the knowledge base to appropriately treat critical injuries. ATCs develop rehab and injury prevention programs for athletes and weekend warriors to ensure proper movement mechanics and proper form during sport and activity. They are able to diagnosis concussions and know the steps to follow to get that person back to activity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrated that having an Athletic Trainer available for student athletes helped lower injury rates, provide more precise and accurate evaluations and proper return to play outlines for concussions and other injuries.
Q: Are Athletic Trainers and personal trainers the same thing?
Michael Smuda: No, Athletic Trainers and personal trainers are not the same role. An Athletic Trainer needs to graduate from an accredited Athletic Training program and take a board exam in order to treat patients. While there is some overlap with the sports performance aspect of each job, Athletic Trainers have a wider scope to their practice, and personal trainers are focused on improving physical fitness and wellness in the lay population.
Participating in the Iron Girl Triathlon Columbia?
Come see our Athletic Trainers on Sat., August 19 at the Health & Fitness Expo, and on Sun., August 20 after the race at Celebration Village. They will be answering your questions and providing free injury consults.
For more information about University of Maryland Orthopaedics or to schedule an appointment, call 410-448-6400 or visit umortho.org.