Guest written by Dr. Howard J. Levy, MD, MBA Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine as commentary to the Wall Street Journal’s “The Best Way for Teens to Recover From Overuse Injuries” released on January 18, 2016
Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) are an integral part of any comprehensive sports medicine program. An article in the Wall Street Journal (“The Best Way for Teens to Recover From Overuse Injuries“) emphasizes the role of ATCs in diagnosing and treating injuries.
As a sports medicine physician for many high schools and colleges, my first order of business was to recruit ATCs for each school. ATCs serve multiple critical functions. They’re usually the first responders to any on field injuries and are trained to triage these injuries according to severity. They are knowledgeable in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all orthopedic and medical problems facing student athletes and refer to a physician accordingly.
In addition, ATCs act as a liaison between athletes, athletic directors, coaches, parents, physical therapists and physicians. In order to expedite decision making, appointments, insurance verification, arranging tests (such as X-Rays, MRIs) and return to play status, the ATC had direct access to my office staff as well as myself 24/7. Not only did this improve the safety and quality of care, but it also provided for quicker recovery and minimized missed days on the field. Without an available ATC, communication with all of these stakeholders was arduous and would often result in a miscommunication, ultimately compromising the timeliness and quality of care.
Professional Physical Therapy employs over 120 ATCs in the Tri-State area who provide a vital service to sports programs and student athletes. With easy access to over 100 physical therapy clinics, and numerous physician relationships, they ensure comprehensive medical care with improved quality, outcomes and enjoyment of sports at all levels of competition.
Howard J. Levy, MD, MBA
Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine