As National Athletic Training Month (NATM) is now officially here I thought it would be interesting to find out what people are doing to raise awareness about athletic trainers and their important role in athletic health and safety. I did not have to go far. Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas and the Athletic Training Club at The Ohio State University has taken it upon themselves to help raise funds for A4IA. Given A4IA’s mission of promoting the profession of athletic training and this year’s motto of “Everybody Needs and Athletic Trainer” it seems a natural fit.

I had the opportunity to speak with Kendall Goldberg, one of two athletic trainers, along with Mike Carroll at Stephenville High School who put together a t-shirt sale as part of their promotion of NATM. Both Mike and Kendall are not only advocates for A4IA, but are very active within the NATA and Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association (SWATA). Their idea is to sell t-shirts that include on the front, “I My Athletic Trainer” in an effort to promote the need for athletic trainers in high schools. If you are interested in a t-shirt, you can download an order form and contact Mike or Kendall (their information is available via the Stephenville HS link above).
While speaking with Kendall I learned that there is a small athletic training student program at Stephenville which includes a basic sports medicine class as well as first aid and CPR. Additionally, Mike and Kendall work with the all athletes on campus. It is commonplace for older students to advocate for the athletic training staff to the younger students who are hesitant to seek help or are unsure of what Mike and Kendall do. There is another type of advocacy happening at Stephenville because of this t-shirt sale; Stephenville students are realizing how fortunate they really are to have Mike and Kendall. They often return from away trips where there is no athletic trainer surprised and disappointed that athletic trainers are not available to them or their opponent. These high school athletes are beginning to understand at a very young age the importance of athletic trainers. I would argue that this awareness and understanding could lead to future parent advocates for athletic trainers at more high schools.

At The Ohio State University Alexis Heimert, Vice President and the rest of The Ohio State University Athletic Training Club are planning and participating in the 4th annual Running with the Buckeyes, a 5K race coordinated by the group. Each year the event promotes NATM and happens on March 24, 2013. You can register in advance or race day.

Alex and the rest of the group found out about A4IA through the Facebook page and Tommy’s video. They did more research to learn about the organization and its goals. The club, impressed by A4IA’s desire to promote the profession of athletic training, a primary purpose of the club, decided to help. They felt it was their responsibility as future professionals to advocate for organization that promotes their profession through public education, pushing for increased access to athletic trainers, and the important role athletic trainers play in athletic medical care.

These are only two examples of athletic training advocacy happening this month that could use your support. These two groups decided to help A4IA by raising money on its behalf. If after reading this, you want to get involved it can be as simple as saying thank you to your athletic trainer for all their hard work, supporting one of the events above or checking with your local, state or regional athletic training organization to see what events they have planned. Other events to consider: 1) write your state representative in California to support passage of AB864, state licensure for ATs, 2) check out the Far West Athletic Trainers’ Association (FWATA) site for a variety of events, or 3) come up with an event of your own!

Grassroots advocacy can make a difference as the students at Stephenville High School and The Ohio State University have shown us. Every little bit helps, so what will you do?

Happy National Athletic Training Month!