Every athletic trainer I know, including myself, loves what they do. The day in and day out tasks of working with athletes and teams to keep them safe, healthy, and performing at a high level is something I’ve been passionate about for years. As with any profession, however, there are some pet peeves I've developed over time that relate to my athletic training career. Here are some of them I wanted to share with you that myself and my friend/fellow athletic trainer, Gerald, put together for fun :
Do you have any Gatorade?
Athletes today think Gatorade actually flows from the faucets in the athletic training room and our supply is unlimited and it’s free. It’s not.
No fear, Dr. Mom is here...
How many times have you ran on to the court or field to evaluate a player who just sustained an injury only to get partially through your evaluation when Dr. Mom or Dr. Dad comes out of the stands? Occasionally they may even ignore you and start performing their own evaluation as though they are medical professionals. Hey! I’m a sports medicine professional in the middle of an injury evaluation on your child. I know you’re worried about them, but it’s easiest for me to help keep them safe when given the proper space to evaluate their injury.
We need a trainer to cover this new event we just added!
This is a two-part double whammy pet peeve. First of all, I hate being called a “trainer.” The word trainer doesn’t represent our profession at all. In fact, using the word discredits the good work we do. The NATA is doing a pretty good job of getting the message out that we are Athletic Trainers, not trainers. However we all need to politely correct those who use the “T” word. The other pet peeve is someone is always adding new events for me to cover when I have my hands full already. No explanation needed there!
What type of athletes do you train?
Are you ever out to dinner and someone inquires as to what you do professionally? You politely reply, I’m an athletic trainer. And then here it comes, “what type of athletes do you train?” Now, I can’t really blame people for thinking I “train” athletes – I mean, that’s what my title is after all! But as medical professionals, “training” athletes isn’t really what we do.
I always need to describe my profession with this example – “You know when you watch sports and see an athlete get hurt? And you see those guys running on the field to evaluate the injury? Those are athletic trainers.” Of course they then say, “So why are you called athletic trainers when you don’t train anybody?” Oh boy, here we go again.
Can I borrow a few coolers?
This happens so often I should start charging people to rent coolers. A coach or athlete askes to borrow some coolers for their event and of course being a nice guy I say OK. A few days after the event I notice the coolers have not been returned to the athletic training room. When I do finally track them down and have them returned they are filthy both inside and out. I don’t know if you’ve ever scrubbed out a moldy cooler, but trust me it’s not a pleasant experience.
Do you know how to tape?
For me, the first thing I learned in college was how to tape. Whether it’s a curse or a blessing it would seem that taping is what athletic trainers are most known for. If that’s the case, why do we have so many people ask us if we know how to tape? That’s like asking a surgeon if he knows how to cut.
This lack of knowledge might tie back into the fact that a lot of people don’t know the difference between a personal trainer and an athletic trainer. Working to educate parents, players, and others on our profession and what we can/can’t do seems to be a never ending process but something I’m happy to do to help spread awareness of athletic trainers and their careers.
We will pay you to work this tournament!
I get asked to cover outside events like travel basketball tournaments or wrestling tournaments all of the time, but I rarely agree to work them. Unfortunately, these events typically pay an embarrassingly low wage for someone to spend their day medically treating athletes and it simply isn’t worth my time so I must decline to work the event. Hopefully if enough ATCs refuse to work these extra events for low wages we can eventually help raise the standard pay overall.
So there you have it – my top six athletic training pet peeves. If you’re an athletic trainer, would you agree or disagree with the statements above? What pet peeves would you add to this list? Let us 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.