While I have yet to find someone who claims to be passionate about having a sweaty, stinky foot stuck in their face, most athletic trainers I know (myself included) are still passionate about their career as a whole. Taking into consideration the long hours, hectic schedules, and general lack of appreciation of the profession there are still athletic trainers who wouldn’t trade their job for the world.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an athletic trainer? If you’re currently an ATC can you relate to any of these signs that your job was “meant to be?” Check out the character traits below that myself and fellow certified athletic trainers, Glen Snow and Becky Clifton, compiled and let us know in the comments what you would add!
You Love Athletics
From a young age you probably watched sports on TV and/or played sports either with your friends or as a part of a team. If you didn’t play sports, you most likely could be found hanging around the team either as a manager or student athletic trainer. The thrill of everybody working together to accomplish a goal was something you wanted to be a part of and you enjoy being a team player.
You Care About People’s Wellbeing
You’ve probably always had a natural way of looking after people – whether it was your siblings, friends, or even a stranger in need. If they were sick you comforted them, if they were down in the dumps you encouraged them. Everybody could always count on you as being a good and reliable friend willing to help out and solve problems and now you can use those same skills to be the leader in the athletic training room.
You Don’t Mind Working Long Hours
While a lot of professions tend to work long hours, it’s still something that you have to be able to handle as an ATC. They say “as long as you love doing something it’s not considered working” and that rings true with many athletic trainers. Your willingness to invest your time in others shows you are passionate about your career as well as the people you’re helping both in the athletic training room and on the field.
You’ve Always Been Interested in Science or Medicine
As a young boy I spent my time on our family farm operating on bugs and hoping to bring them back to life. I don’t know if that was a precursor to being an athletic trainer or not but I’ve always been fascinated by how muscles and bones worked. Figuring out how to take things apart and/or put them back together is something that most people interested in the medical field grow up doing.
You’re Half Crazy
You must be half crazy to work with those smelly, demanding athletes for such long hours at such low pay...right? You should have your head examined which, thankfully for you, is actually now a part of the concussion protocol. All jokes aside, athletic trainers are a special group of people and their passion and eccentric personalities often make for a fun (and crazy) time when a group of them gets together. If you’re able to take a stinky situation (literally) and make the most of it with a smile on your face you might be an athletic trainer.
You Love to Wear White
For those of you over 60 you know what I’m talking about. In the early days of athletic training it was common for all athletic trainers to wear a starched white shirt and slacks. Some say this look was to promote the fact that athletic trainers are medical professionals and because doctors and nurses wore white, they wore white. If you’re an old school athletic trainer like myself, what other things have you noticed that have changed over the years? Anything you wish that was still the same?
You Don’t Mind Sweating or Freezing to Death
With August football practice you sweat to death, then comes spring football practice and you freeze to death. Athletic trainers for other outdoor sports suffer the same consequences – it’s just part of the job. Through pouring rain, heat, humidity, and snow you can be found tending to the needs of athletes helping to ensure they are as safe as possible. If you’re not easily bothered by weather conditions, among many other things, you’ll fit right in as an athletic trainer.
You Know Where the Light Switch Is
Athletic Trainers are typically the first one to arrive at the facility and the last to leave for the day. So even though your job description probably doesn’t mention much about closing up shop, you’ll end up finding yourself turning off the lights, checking the doors, and making sure everything is put away before heading home for the day. Hey, someone’s gotta do it.
You’re Willing to Put Yourself Second
Recently there was a photo that went viral of a sports medicine professional tending to a high school football player while 35 weeks pregnant with her 3-year-old child on her back – the ultimate example of someone willing to put others before themselves. If you’re a selfish person you’re probably not going to be a good athletic trainer because the profession requires compassion, time, and sacrifice. If you’re willing to put others before yourself and do whatever it takes for the good of the athlete and team, then you’d probably make a great athletic trainer.As you’re reading through these character traits I’m sure you noticed a few common themes throughout them all such as passion, selflessness, and ambition. Are there any things I’ve missed that you would want to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Written by Rick Peters
Rick Peters is a Certified Athletic Trainer who has been advancing ankle bracing technology for three decades. Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1985, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989 he was a founder and became President of Active Ankle Systems. In 1998 he co-founded Ultra Athlete LLC to develop the next generation of ankle bracing technology. Peters has 18 ankle brace patents and is considered an authority on ankle bracing technology worldwide.