“We’ve got your back!” is the theme for this year’s National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Athletic Training month, proclaiming March as “NATA MONTH”. I like it, but the statement could also read ‘we’ve had your back and will always have your back!’
The profession of Athletic Training is so much closer to conquering the due recognition the field deserves but as close as it is, that’s how far off it just may be. To remedy this, my message today includes a few tips about what you yourself can do to help promote the profession.
The 45,000 members of the NATA all strive to increase recognition for the profession and ethically represent their profession at the highest regard. The message, sooner or later, has to get out. Right? That message?
NATA Coverage for ALL
The mandatory presence of a Certified Athletic Trainer at every high school sporting event Nationwide is paramount. This is the only way to prevent the mounting injuries and unnecessary deaths that occur each and every year due to the lack of qualified medical attention present, ready, and prepared to care for our athletes. Having the information in hand on how to treat concussions is one thing. Having top notch ATC medical care at the ready is another. It is our job as ATHLETIC TRAINERS and members of the NATA to effortlessly promote the profession and educate the public on the roles we assume each and every day. Athletic training has changed so much through the years and has advanced to such wonderful levels. Folks, we can go higher and achieve greater. The mission of teaching has to take place daily by each and every one of us. Spread the word, inform others, engage in dialogue, and reach out to your local legislators. Similarly, continue to let people know the difference between an Athletic Trainer and a personal trainer. Be proud to be a member of the NATA.
Respect the Path of the Profession
As advanced as we think we are today, we could only have ‘achieved’ our present position through the hard work and desires of our predecessors. Be it Pinky Newell or any one of the innovators, the NATA has become what it has through the tireless efforts of so many. Have you thanked and or shared the message of your predecessors? Personally, I thank the endless number of mentors I had as a child growing up wanting to be an athletic trainer. “Thank You” Larry Starr, Kent Biggerstaff, Larry Mayol, Jeff Cooper, Bill Buhler, Gene Gieselmann, Tony Garofalo, Dave Pursley, and many more! Your influences on the profession deserve kudos in many regards and I personally want to thank each of you for sharing your guidance and wisdom with me and so many.
The NATA first met with about two hundred members. Some 64 years later the profession has grown leaps and bounds.
My other question to you: Have you done all you can do to help promote our profession? This is National Athletic Training Month. This, of all months, is your opportunity to reach out and become involved. Many of you are saying you have no time and you already do enough to help promote the profession. Au contraire!
I offer several possible scenarios with each involving little to very little effort!
* Pick up the phone and reach out to a media outlet in your hometown and offer to draft a PSA recognizing March as NATA month. Call the sports department of your local newspaper or the beat writer of your high schools sports team. Have them write about the profession calling special attention to members in the local community, thus further helping us educate the public.
* Write a blog post similar to this writing for your local newspaper or media outlet.
* Write and post social media entries promoting the month of March and our profession.
* Call local legislators, town committee members, mayors, and government officials. Show up at a city council meeting and offer a resolution proclaiming March as Athletic Training Month.
The onus is on us to further educate and our jobs are not done until each and every person knows who and what Athletic Trainers are! Just as we challenge our athletes and ever-growing patient populations to be the best they can be, this month (and every month for that matter) the challenge is ours. The challenge is about each and every athletic trainer promoting the NATA and advancing our profession.
Assorted Rolls Of Tape…
The above photo is from the March 5, 2014 City of Chicago Council meeting held at City Hall. I simply reached out to a local alderman and asked that a resolution on behalf of the NATA be introduced into City Record. Athletico accompanied us to City Council that morning as Alderman Tom Tunney presented the resolution for record to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Aldermanic body. Congratulations are in order to the NATA and its members.
Time to make the Change!
With a time change happening for many of us, how are you going to adjust with an extra hour of sunshine? I always love this time of year as it sends a message to get outdoors and become active. As active as we are, it’s also important to ensure we don’t lose track of our current sleep patterns. Are you currently getting enough rest? Just checking…
Enjoy March everyone. No need to worry, “we’ve got your back!”
Photo from the left: Todd Nettelhorst, Mallory Mihalov/ATC, Sandy Krum/ATC, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lindsey Otte/ATC, Tony Garofalo/ATC, Payten Gerjerts/ATC, Alderman Tom Tunney