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When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Recognize the historical foundations of athletic training.

  • Identify the various professional organizations dedicated to athletic training and sports medicine.

  • Identify various employment settings for the athletic trainer.

  • Differentiate the roles and responsibilities of the athletic trainer, the team physician, and the coach.

  • Define evidence-based practice as it relates to the clinical practice of athletic training.

  • Explain the function of support personnel in sports medicine.

  • Discuss certification and licensure for the athletic trainer.


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patient PICO
athletic training clinic ATC
ankle mortise  


Visit for further exercises to apply your knowledge:

  • Clinical application scenarios covering professional role responsibilities

  • Click-and-drag question format covering professional organizations, BOC domains, and support personnel

  • Multiple-choice questions covering history of athletic training, employment settings, and certification and licensure for the athletic trainer


Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing, and rehabilitating injuries. In cooperation with physicians, other allied health personnel, administrators, coaches, and parents, the athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the health care team in clinics, secondary schools, colleges and universities, professional sports programs, and other athletic health care settings. As you will see throughout the course of this text, athletic trainers provide a critical link between the medical community and individuals who participate in all types of physical activity (Figure 1–1).


The field of athletic training provides a critical link between the medical community and the physically active individual.

© William E. Prentice

The certified athletic trainer is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in health care for the physically active.


Early History

The drive to compete was important in many early societies. Sports developed over a period of time as a means of competing in a relatively peaceful and nonharmful way. Early civilizations show little evidence of highly organized sports. Evidence indicates that in Greek and Roman civilizations there were coaches, trainers (people who helped the athlete reach top physical condition), and physicians (such as Hippocrates and Galen) who assisted the athlete in reaching optimum performance. Many of the roles that emerged during this early period are the same in modern sports.

The history of athletic training draws on the disciplines of exercise, medicine, physical therapy, physical education, and sports.

For many centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, there was a complete lack ...

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