By: Vito Manzella ATC
Athletic Trainers aren’t just playing the game, they’re changing it.
What is an Athletic Trainer?
Athletic Trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals who are Board Certified to provide preventative and emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Traditionally, Athletic Trainers work with athletes in high school, collegiate, and professional settings. However, in recent years Athletic Trainers have expanded their scope of practice into a variety of settings, including occupational healthcare.
What is the Problem?
Injury and illness in the workplace have proven to be extremely costly to a business’ bottom-line. Employees who experience injuries or illness often need time away from work, or modified job duties to recover. These events have several direct and indirect costs associated with them, and result in a variety of negative outcomes for a company. These negative implications are only exacerbated when the injury or illness is work-related. Employees can experience a myriad of injuries or illnesses. Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system. These are among the most common injuries in the workplace setting. Of all possible MSD’s, sprains and strains are the most recurrent. According to the National Safety Council, one workplace injury costs a company an average of $38,000. Also, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, MSD’s are estimated to account for 33% of all Workers Compensation costs when direct and indirect costs are factored. To reduce these costs, many forward-thinking companies are investing in Athletic Trainers to create and implement injury prevention programs.
How do Athletic Trainers Fit In?
Throughout an Athletic Trainer’s education, much of the curriculum focuses on musculoskeletal prevention, care, and rehabilitation. There is also a great deal of focus placed on the study of human movement, also known as Kinesiology, and the potential injuries involved with certain movements. Therefore, Athletic Trainers thrive in this industry. Much like observing athletes during practice or competition, Athletic Trainers observe employees throughout the work day constantly looking for potential injury risks, biomechanical “red flags” and other warning signs.
Although many employees may no longer have the body of a traditional athlete, they do undergo similar demands that can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. There are several factors that contribute to these musculoskeletal injuries including, but not limited to: job task, repetitive motions, confined spaces, improper tool use, static posture, improper body mechanics, pushing, pulling, lifting, body weight, disease, tobacco and alcohol use, and uncontrolled climates.
Ergonomics also play a large role in the prevention of workplace injuries. Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them. With consistent observation, injury trends, and common complaints, Athletic Trainers can implement new tools, procedures, and best practices for a job task to prevent injuries.
Athletic Trainers are also very skilled in Manual Therapy, and highly educated in a wide array of injury care techniques that fall under OSHA’s Guidelines of First Aid. With these skills, Athletic Trainers can conservatively
manage most Musculoskeletal Disorders without ever referring to a physician or clinic, saving companies thousands of dollars in direct and indirect costs associated with work-related injuries.
How are Athletic Trainers Changing the Game?
By taking their skills from the gridiron to the working world, Athletic Trainers are saving companies millions, and helping hard-working men and women go home feeling better than ever. Athletic Trainers are consistently evolving and changing the game in workplace healthcare.
Industrial Sports Medicine Professional
Vito is an Industrial Sports Medicine Professional for InSite Health. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer with a bachelor’s degree from Lewis University. Vito is also certified in the American Sports Education Program and has over 2 years of experience in Industrial Sports Medicine.