With only 1 day left in the month of March aka National Athletic Training Month, I would like to take the time to show my appreciation for all of my fellow Certified Athletic Trainers. Athletic Training is a profession that is almost always misunderstood and sometimes even underappreciated. I often receive the question from others of why any of us would want to do what we do. Why we put in the long hours for minimal pay, why we give up our weekends to spend them out on the field or on the court, why we give up our summers to spend the month of August sweating it out all day during preseason. The simple answer is that we do it because we care.
We care about our athletes. We care about their ability to succeed. We care about the role that we play within that. Whether we are implementing new recovery protocols to help with injury prevention or are actively progressing an athlete through rehabilitation from an ACL surgery; we are doing our due diligence in making sure that when that athlete steps out onto the court, steps out onto the field, they are able to give 110%. Our athletes are able to give it their all knowing that they have someone there to catch them if they fall.
Not only do we deal with athletically based injuries, but we are often the first line of defense and recognition for many psychological and physiological issues. We are commonly trusted confidants for these kids who may be finding themselves having a hard time balancing school work, practice schedules, and everyday life. Similar to how everyone jokes that their hair dresser is their therapist, we too become mini therapists to our athletes who spend time in our chairs getting their ankles taped, their hamstrings stretched and their elbows ultrasounded.
We are an integral part to the success of an athletic program. While we are often misunderstood and underappreciated by the world as a whole, we are appreciated by those who matter most to us. We are appreciated in every glimpse of a smile we catch on a baseball player’s face after he hits the game winning home-run, in every fist thrust into the air after throwing the ball up from half court at the buzzer, in every dog pile following a championship win. Seeing the athletes succeed is not just a win for them, but a win for us. These are the moments that truly make our job enjoyable.