If you've ever played a sport or you’re the parent of an athlete, you might be familiar with what an athletic trainer is and what services an athletic trainer provides. Athletic trainers are often first responders to injuries that happen on the field or court during practice or competition.
Athletic trainers, who are highly educated and nationally certified, specialize in the prevention, emergency care, evaluation, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of acute and chronic sports-related injuries and medical conditions. They also offer pre-season and in-season conditioning and nutritional counseling to players, parents and coaches. They are trained to care for athletes with simple and serious sports injuries and illnesses, as well as equipped to care for conditions like heat illness, cardiac events, and brain and spinal cord injuries that can be life-threatening if not managed properly. Athletic trainers also play an important part in helping recognize and assess concussions in children and teens, which occur upward of 3.8 million times a year. In addition, they help counsel coaches, parents and athletes about concussion prevention and management, and are there to support return-to-play and practice decisions.
A certified athletic trainer (ATC) provides a link between your child’s athletic program and the medical community by applying injury prevention measures and management, as well as delivering emergency care on and off the field or court.
After earning a master’s degree, prospective athletic trainers must take a comprehensive three-part exam administered by the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer. Once they pass the exam, candidates are granted an athletic training certification. Only those who have passed the exam may use the title "athletic trainer." Once certified, an athletic trainer must also complete ongoing continuing education (CEU) requirements to maintain certification.
Proud teammates with Atlanta United
We’re the official pediatric healthcare system and sports medicine program of Atlanta United. The high-quality care delivered by the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s is recognized across the nation, even by professional sports leagues like Major League Soccer (MLS).
It’s important to have someone on the sideline who can handle a medical emergency, whether it’s during a practice or game, as coaches aren’t trained to manage injuries and illnesses.
At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, athletic trainers are part of our Sports Medicine Program, which is one of the only programs in the country dedicated exclusively to caring for teen athletes. Specifically, we have been providing athletic training coverage to high schools since 1997. All of our athletic trainers are certified through the NATA Board of Certification and licensed in Georgia. Our ATCs complete at least 50 hours of continuing medical education every two years and maintain an emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) certification. Everyone on our staff also undergoes a thorough criminal background check before they are hired, and we comply with national standards to keep background checks up to date.
What services does Children’s offer teams and clubs?
Our athletic trainers provide comprehensive services for high school and growing athletes by offering a full range of care, from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and preventive care. Instead of treating only the symptoms, we treat and help manage the injury or medical condition. Many of those injuries or illnesses are unique to children and teens, and require specialized treatment.
All athletes who work with a Children’s athletic trainer receive treatment that is personalized based on their needs, emotional state and the sports they play to make sure they heal properly. Our sports medicine staff connects athletes to the support of a healthcare system that understands what it takes to help growing athletes recover from injuries and excel in sports. In addition, the sports medicine team works closely with Children’s specialists in other clinical areas, such as cardiology and pulmonology, to make the right referral for your athlete. Our patients have direct access to a multidisciplinary team of professionals who specialize in pediatric and adolescent medicine.
At the time of an injury, our athletic trainers can help guide an athlete’s care. Following an injury, they can help implement a rehabilitation plan from your child’s physician, acting as an extension of sports physical therapy. Our care goes beyond the field or court by providing:
- Injury prevention education on the field, court or track and in the training room.
- Emergent care, including recommendations for recovery and treatment.
- ImPACT concussion baseline testing and post-concussion medical management, as well as educating athletes, parents and coaches about concussions.
- First aid for injuries, including taping and bracing of athletes.
- Assessment of injuries and recommendations for treatment, such as at-home exercise programs.
- Documentation of services provided to athletes.
- Creation of emergency action plans (EAPs) for our high schools and clubs. We communicate and practice EAPs with coaches and staff.
- Guidance for physician referrals after injury.
- Preseason meetings with parents and student athletes.
- Communication about follow-up care and injuries with coaches and parents.
Atlanta United Homegrown Stories | Caleb Wiley
From playing soccer with dad, to playing on the Atlanta United Academy team, to becoming an accomplished defender for Atlanta United – follow Caleb Wiley’s journey and the role Children’s played to help him get there.
In addition to providing medical coverage at many local, national and regional events, our team is trusted on the sidelines, working with over 40 individual high school programs and club sports across metro Atlanta.
- Blessed Trinity Catholic High School
- Carlton J. Kell High School
- Druid Hills High School
- Eagle's Landing Christian Academy
- Eagle's Landing High School
- Fellowship Christian School
- Hampton High School
- Lassiter High School
- Locust Grove High School
- McEachern High School
- Mount Vernon School
- North Atlanta High School
- North Cobb High School
- Ola High School
- Pace Academy
- Riverwood High School
- South Forsyth High School
- St. Pius X Catholic High School
- Stockbridge High School
- Strong Rock Christian School
- Union Grove High School
- Wheeler High School
Club sports affiliations
- Sean Amos, ATC
- Eva Beaulieu, ATC
- Jimmy Bradberry, MS, ATC
- Sandy Britt, ATC
- Ashley Conorqui, ATC
- O.J. Dunbar, MEd, ATC
- Erin Earp, ATC
- Micah Espina, ATC
- Justin Farris, MS, ATC
- Si'Ara Farris, ATC
- Greg Gandy, ATC
- Darby Glackin, ATC
- Ebony Glascock, MS, ATC
- Lauren Gooch Holliday, ATC
- Diane King, MS, RD, ATC
- Demetre Ledlum, MS, ATC
- Emily Morgason, MS, ATC
- Emma Morozowsky, MS, ATC
- Jeff Paul, DC, ATC
- Sara Peuster, ATC
- Laschonda Pituk, MS, ATC
- MacKenzie Poole, ATC
- Yasmeen Randolph, ATC
- Ashley Roberts, MS, ATC
- Kevin Sullivan, MS, ATC
- Marcus Underwood, ATC
- Will Utsey, ATC
- Stephanie Vasquez, ATC
- Marie Verilli, MEd, ATC
- Randy Warren, MSED, ATC, CSCS
- Whitley Witherspoon, ATC
- Phil Wrye, ATC, CSCS
Athletic training management
- Lindsey Ream, MEd, ATC, Manager, Sports Medicine Athletic Training & Community Outreach
- Laura Lyles, MEd, ATC, Supervisor
- Tiffany Swales, MS, ATC, Supervisor
Our Sports Medicine Program team is active in the Atlanta youth sports community. The staff leads workshops for coaches and provides certified athletic trainers for area high schools and club sports organizations. We also offer educational in-services to physicians and other organizations.
Student Athletic Trainer's Workshop
Each year, the Children’s Sports Medicine Program hosts a one-day workshop for high school students who are interested in sports medicine. During this training session, students learn about concussions, heat illness, packing a medical kit, splinting, stretching, taping techniques, and the treatment of acute injuries and wound care.