In 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong and the National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) took historic steps that changed their respective professions. Armstrong was the first person to step foot on the moon. NATA approved the first undergraduate athletic training education programs at four U.S. universities. Since then, careers for athletic trainers evolved beyond the playing field into non-traditional environments such as business, manufacturing, the Arts and healthcare—the fastest growing field according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. They project a 21 percent growth in this field through 2024 which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Historically, the relationship between physicians and athletic trainers was limited to the athletic sidelines. Today, athletic trainers work in various clinical settings assisting physicians. In this role, they assist by taking patient histories, evaluating injuries, scheduling tests, preparing injections, fitting DME products, developing rehabilitation programs, educating patients, assisting in surgery and conducting research. The role is expanding and evolving, but most healthcare positions require additional training and prior experience beyond an athletic training degree.
In 2007, Dr. Steven Chudik, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine physician created the 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Teaching and Research Foundation (OTRF), to keep people active and healthy and serve as a reliable, unbiased source for information, education and research. One of OTRF’s most popular educational offerings is the Athletic Training Residency Program that provides certified athletic trainers hands-on clinical experience in a stimulating and fast-paced orthopaedic setting. Graduates of this program are prepared to join an orthopaedic practice and make an immediate impact on clinical efficiency, patient satisfaction and productivity. Headed by Rory McHardy, MS, ATC, LAT, OTC, the 13-month program begins every July with applications accepted from December to March prior to the start date in late June.
The OTRF Athletic Training Residency Program is currently in the self-study phase of CAATE accreditation.