The National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) celebrates National Athletic Training Month every March by creating logos, posters, and other sharable items that display information about the importance of athletic trainers.
Athletic trainers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their athletes. “Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emergent, acute, or chronic injuries and medical conditions,” according to NATA.
All certified athletic trainers must meet continuing education requirements that focus on the development of “current knowledge and skills and enhancement of professional skills and judgement,” according to NATA.org. These continuing education credits help athletic trainers to increase their knowledge, skills and abilities in the practice of athletic training.
This year’s National Athletic Training Month theme is “ATs are health care,” according to AT your own risk. This theme represents the broad services that athletic trainers provide, including injury and illness prevention, care, and rehabilitation.
During March, athletes and coaches can share their appreciation for athletic trainers in person, or through social media using the hashtag #thankanAT.
The Stevenson University athletics department includes six athletic trainers who are each assigned specific sports teams with whom they work throughout their season. This allows trainers to build a connection and establish trust with their athletes and coaches.
One of the six athletic trainers at Stevenson is head athletic trainer Kira Olds. It is Olds’ responsibility to oversee the other staff members, while they provide their skills to the 27 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams the school offers. Along with supervision of other trainers, Olds is responsible for Stevenson’s football, men’s lacrosse, and men and women’s golf teams, according to gomustangsports.
Stevenson assistant athletic trainer Brianna Wagner is new to the Mustangs this year. She is works with women’s volleyball, women’s basketball, men and women’s tennis, and beach volleyball, according to gomustangsports.
Wagner said that coaches and players at Stevenson are respectful towards her and her fellow staff members, making them feel appreciated. She added that she likes the environment Stevenson provides because coaches are inclusive and make her feel like a member of the team.
Senior women’s basketball player Jonyae Curry said Wagner “genuinely cared about (the team) as more than athletes.” Curry also said that her team, including players and coaches, bonded with Wagner enough to feel comfortable sharing and discussing issues outside of physical health.
Athletic trainers often have a background in sports, allowing them to relate to coaches and athletes and stay involved in the sports world without being players. Wagner became an athletic trainer because she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) twice in high school and her trainers were her “go-to people” during those hard times, she said, so she wanted to be able to do the same for someone else.
This year is associate athletic trainer Stefanie Meyerson-Beard’s 20th year as an athletic trainer at Stevenson. Of the six trainers, Meyerson-Beard has been with Stevenson the longest. She is responsible for Stevenson’s field hockey, men and women’s swimming, men and women’s track and field, and softball, according to gomustangsports.