An athletic trainer is a certified, health care professional who practices in the field of medical athletic training. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.
As defined by the Strategic Implementation Team of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) in August 2007:
"Athletic training is practiced by athletic trainers, health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities."
Areas of expertise of accredited athletic trainers include Risk Management and Injury Prevention, Pathology of Injuries and Illnesses, Orthopedic Clinical Examination and Assessment, Medical Conditions and Disabilities, Acute Care of Injuries and Illnesses, Therapeutic Modalities, Conditioning and Rehabilitative Exercises, Pharmacology and Psychosocial Intervention and Referral, Nutritional Aspects of Injuries and Illnesses, Healthcare Administration and "Professional Development and Responsibility".
Services rendered by the athletic trainer take place in a wide variety of settings and venues, including actual athletic training facilities, primary schools, universities, inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, physician offices, community centers, workplaces, and even the military. Emerging settings for athletic training include surgical fellowship opportunities.