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The Important Role of Athletic Trainers

With spring sports season just around the corner, it's the perfect time to recognize our team of Certified Athletic Trainers who play an essential role in keeping our area athletes healthy. ACMC is fortunate to have three certified athletic trainers who care for student athletes in a wide array of sports.

This month there is an extra focus on educating people about the value of athletic trainers in our systems. March is National Athletic Training Month.

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians and specialize in the prevention, emergency care, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses.

ACMC's athletic trainers provide services for athletes at Willmar High School, New-London Spicer High School, MACCRAY High School, RCW High School, and Ridgewater Community College. Jessica also serves as the athletic trainer for the Willmar Stingers collegiate baseball team. Together they provide the highest quality of care to ensure the area athletes are performing at their best.

Athletic trainers have at least a four-year degree in sports medicine and most likely more training beyond college. They work together with other sports medicine team members to provide injury evaluations, design treatment programs, attend local athletic competitions, and advise athletes, coaches and parents. This person may be your first contact after an injury as ATC's are often on the sidelines at sporting events.

Working to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries and sports-related illnesses. ATCs are part of a team of health care professionals — they practice under the direction of and in collaboration with physicians. Athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers who focus solely on fitness and conditioning.

Sports injuries can be serious. Brain and spinal cord injuries and conditions such as heat illness can be life threatening if not recognized and properly handled. ATCs are there to treat acute injuries on the spot. Athletes have chronic illnesses, too. People with diabetes and asthma can and do safely work and exercise, and the athletic trainer can help manage these critical health issues as they relate to physical exertion.

Athletic trainers are on site. They work with athletes to help prevent injuries; they're there when injuries happen and they provide immediate care; and they rehabilitate patients after injuries or surgery. It's a continuum of care.

Thank you to all of our wonderful Certified Athletic Trainers and to ATC's everywhere for all you to do keep our athletes safe!