I understand that most health care providers have a caring spirit and want to use their skills to help an individual who they perceive as in need of care, however most are unaware of the type, level, and quality of care they are receiving from an Athletic Trainer. Additionally, there is a professional boundary that should exist among health care providers to respect everyone’s skills. If an Athletic Trainer walked into an emergency room with adequate staffing and said, “I’m an Athletic Trainer and here to help,” he/she would be quickly escorted away and probably told that this isn’t the place for them. Why doesn’t it work the other way around? Too often there is unnecessary interference from fans that want to use their health care expertise to help, but are not part of the designated team and do not know the procedures for care on the sideline. What’s worse, often times coaches, athletic directors, and other personnel allow these people on the field and sometimes trust the word of the other health care provider over the assessment of the Athletic Trainer!
It is the responsibility of the Athletic Trainer to attend to the injured athlete, determine the diagnosis, and treat appropriately. As Athletic Trainers, we have Emergency Action Plans in place if there is a need for emergency care. On the field, the Athletic Trainer is the leader of the health care team and if assistance is needed, he or she will communicate to other members of the team as needed. We are not only qualified but also legally obligated to follow our protocols for care and any outside interference could result in legal against anyone providing care. Let us do our job!
We all have a role. Let’s do what’s best for our patients and sport. We Prepare, You Perform.
Bobby Vallandingham LAT, ATC