March is National Athletic Training Month (NATM). It is a month to recognize the time and efforts of athletic trainers and all that they do. A time to thank them for the endless hours that they have put in taking care of their athletes and patients. And it is a time to praise them and their profession.
More it importantly it is a time to recognize WHAT athletic trainers do, and for us as athletic trainers to help educate other on what we do. I still meet people on a regular basis that have no clue what an athletic trainer is or does, and we as athletic trainers need to correct that. We should be educating people daily about what athletic trainers do, but we currently have the spot light and it is now to really step up those efforts. Sure, the NATA has PR people, and it is there job to promote our profession, but if we really believe in what we do, then we shouldn’t just sit back and let them do it alone.
I will admit, for many years, I did little to promote the profession. I sat back and complained about how ignorant people were of our training and what we were capable. I was sick of people thinking that I was the water boy or a coach. I would complain about the NATA not doing a better job in informing the public. National Athletic Training Month would come around and I’d put up the poster that I would get with the Journal of Athletic Training and think, hey, I’ve done my part.
A couple of years ago something changed. Don’t know what it was, but I saw an email from District 2 president Michael Goldenberg about looking for people to help with social media, and without a thought I jumped at it. I soon found myself as the NATA District 2 LinkedIn account manager. I set up a group page and started posting information that the district wanted shared with its members. Before long I was supplementing it with articles of interest and then started promoting the various social district social media to other members of district 2.
When the next NATM came along and on March 1st I sent my first email to all of the employees at the school I work at explaining what NATM was and what exactly I did as an athletic trainer. I had an announcement made in home room for the students along the same lines. I was blasting out stuff about athletic training all over my social media accounts.
Shortly thereafter I picked up an unofficial position with two more athletic training social media accounts for SOATS (Section One Athletic Trainers Society of NY). Main part of what I was doing was communicating information among athletic trainers, but I also started using them to help promote athletic training even more. That next NATM I started putting out even more information.
Since then I have continued to post promotional stuff about athletic training fairly regularly. With this year’s NATM I’ve stepped it up another notch by deciding to write blog posts throughout the month relating to NATM and athletic training.
But this post isn’t about me trying to brag about what I’m doing. It is about trying to get you and other athletic trainers to step up and start promoting our profession. We all need to be educating the public about what athletic training is and what athletic trainers do. I want to show that I too, sat back and did nothing. I can’t explain what changed, but I’ve realized that for the public to learn about us, it is up to us to teach them. Part of the reason for this post all comes from the total disbelief that I have that we have a petition to the federal government **(petition failed) that would help us as athletic trainers and help us protect the safety of our youth athletes and less than 10% of us could even bother to sign it! **It in fact failed, but you have second chance, please sign and share!**
Stop complaining that you don’t get the respect you deserve. Stop waiting for others to recognize what you do. It is time for each of us to step up and say “I am an athletic trainer! I am a highly trained, certified and licensed medical professional! Please let me tell you more about how I can help you…” If I can step up, so can you!
You can start by signing the NEW petition **(petition failed) here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/ensure-youth-athletes-have-direct-access-athletic-trainer/BC9z8WNj ***The link that they have on petition to share it to facebook & twitter only directs people to governments main page. You need to actually copy & paste link.***
(This is strictly my point of view, and has nothing to do with NATA, NATAD2, or SOATS)