Recently, a comment was posted on a popular social media website. This comment received backlash from many athletic trainers. The anonymous writer stated, “It pisses me off when I see overweight/out of shape ATC’s out there. If our job is to keep athletes healthy, we need to keep ourselves healthy.”
I felt compelled to talk about this touchy subject in hopes that athletic trainers, will advocate rather than protest within the profession. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, except when it demeans individuals within the field. Periodically, individuals express opinions that are meant to advocate for good within the profession, like becoming healthier, but rather, hurt the profession and people, because of a barrier in expression or communication.
As NATA members, we are all required to uphold the NATA code of ethics. These principles are intended to establish and maintain the highest standards of professionalism for the field. Specifically, principle four states that, “Members shall not engage in conduct that could be construed as a conflict of interest or that reflects negatively on the profession.” Comments on social media, that can be regarded as negative, biased, and disapproving violate the Code of Ethics. An athletic trainer’s capabilities are not correlated to his/her physical fitness or health. A person should never be judged on how well he/she can perform based on their weight, or for any other physical characteristic. Expertise, knowledge, and experience frames a professional’s competence and qualifications. And although I can appreciate the promotion of health, for all people, I can neither condone nor empathize with judgment.
Many classmates of mine were discouraged by a blog post discussing this topic, for fear that it would discourage people from sharing their experiences on the internet. However, if nothing is said, then no progress can occur. So, to pull from an age old saying… think before you speak… and let’s all take care of each other. #TogetherWeMustDoBetter
Ethan Roberts LAT, ATC