May 09, 2022

An AT’s Secret Weapon When It Comes to Preventing Sports-Related Injuries

An AT’s Secret Weapon When It Comes to Preventing Sports-Related Injuries

Athletic Trainers (ATs) are the unsung heroes behind a strong and healthy sports team. As multi-skilled health care professionals, they help prevent sports injury and shorten rehabilitation time. These are critical responsibilities because student-athletes encounter many sudden impacts, collisions, harsh movements, and twists during practice or games.

How do they work their magic? A-G Administrators, Chief Operating Officer James Shipp, who is a certified Athletic Trainer himself, explains. Essentially, ATs do it with a lot of skill, knowledge, hard work, and the right partnerships. “ATs are committed to providing a superior healthcare solution pre- and post-injury and have the same goal to mitigate risks associated with injuries as we do at A-G.”

How Do ATs Prevent Sports Injuries And Shorten Rehabilitation?

An AT’s educational background prepares them well for the job, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees (some common majors are athletic training and exercise science) that have relevant coursework in biology, anatomy, nutrition, sports medicine, and kinesiology.

An AT puts kinesiology tape on a female athlete’s shoulder to help prevent injury.

After finishing their degrees, ATs must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Trainer Education (CAATE)-accredited athletic training education program. They also must pass a national board exam to become certified trainers. Once certified, they pursue continuing education to keep their certification current and stay on top of the latest sports-medicine innovations.

With these skills at the forefront, the AT’s first focus is on preventing sports-related injuries by educating student-athletes on what to do.

How ATs prevent sports injuries:

This is done through:

  • Explaining and watching out for overuse injuries: making sure student-athletes have enough strength, flexibility, and balance, and teaching better techniques
  • Instructing on proper equipment use
  • Advocating for continuing pre-and post-season conditioning
  • Recommending, developing, and executing sport-specific, dynamic warm-up routines before activity
  • Making training changes slowly and monitoring effects
  • Applying preventive measures such as tape and bandages or using braces for support
  • Providing healthy oversight when working with an athlete with pre-existing conditions

Through a combination of these actions, ATs can help reduce athletic injury and promote student-athlete well-being. But even with the best of all possible oversight, injuries can happen.

Injuries could be as simple as a twisted ankle or as serious as a torn ligament in the knee (A-G’s First Annual College Sports Medical Expense and Insurance Study shows that men and women share knee injuries as their top injury, with over $19M in claims in 2018). When injuries strike, ATs switch their focus to student-athlete recovery.

How ATs aid in recovery:

ATs are usually the first on the scene when a student-athlete is injured. They evaluate the situation, provide emergency care, and make recommendations. At the time of injury, these first actions may make all the difference for a faster recovery. ATs also support recovery by developing and conducting rehabilitation programs while simultaneously working to prevent re-injury in the future.

Fortunately, with all of the critical demands they face, ATs aren’t alone in their work. A-G is right there with them. “Through our risk management partnerships, we make services available that ATs and athletic departments may not have access to on their own, such as Sparta Science and USCAH,“ Shipp says. “These services and others can make a big difference in athlete health, recovery, and welfare, and they can also help reduce medical and premium costs.”

A-G Partnerships for prevention and recovery include:

  • Sparta Science: Provides solutions that help measure a student-athlete’s readiness for sport, injury risk, and return-to-play timelines.
  • USCAH: The U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health offers free risk assessments and access to eLearning courses.
  • Athletic Heart: Offers affordable diagnostic imaging solutions.
  • Maximized Medical Partnerships: Allows athletic departments to trim premium and medical treatment costs by using a 40+ national provider network.

Plus, when schools partner with A-G, they also benefit from EGBAR (Efficiency Generating Business Automation Resource), the nation’s leading claims management technology, which can help inform decisions about injuries and treatments.

More A-G partnership benefits:

A-G also helps athletic department budgets by reducing the overall budget expenses left by primary medical insurance through savings on associated medical procedures. In 2018, A-G’s first annual study showed that A-G helped schools save over $8 million that they or their student-athletes would otherwise have had to pay.

When ATs Partner with A-G, They Get Healthier Athletes and Lower Budgets

If you’re an AT who thinks your athletic program might benefit from A-G’s solutions and would like to know more ways to help prevent injuries, talk to your agent or contact us at A-G. We’ve been protecting school sports programs like yours for almost 40 years, with thousands of schools and athletic departments on board for protection and savings. We look forward to working together to reduce athletic injuries and recovery time while lowering premiums and underwriting costs.

Would you like to get a free copy of A-G’s First Annual College Sports Medical Expense and Insurance Study? Click here to get on the mailing list to be the first to receive a copy.

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