Doctors & Staff
The Outreach Team includes athletic trainers, physiologists, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and sport nutritionists who work directly with Houston area high school and college athletics programs which have Licensed Athletic Trainers on staff. The Team conducts conferences and seminars, and provides training and education for student athletes.
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When "time out" is called because of injury during an athletic event, the licensed athletic trainer (LAT) is among the first to spring into action. Although today's LAT plays an essential role in competition, his or her expertise might surprise even the most ardent of fans.
The most common misconception about the profession is that LATs don't have medical training; in fact, many people think they're coaches with first-aid training.
That perception changes once athletes and their families get better acquainted with LATs. They start looking to the athletic trainer as the gatekeeper for all of their healthcare needs. LATs get calls for all kinds of things, including referrals for specialists from pediatricians to gynecologists.
Recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals, athletic trainers must have state licensure and continuing medical education to maintain that licensure. LATs possess a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, emergency medicine, injury prevention, taping and bracing, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, nutrition and psychology.
The career path for today's LAT begins with a bachelor's degree in athletic training, kinesiology, exercise science or a similar line of study. Next, the candidate is required to work under the supervision of a LAT at a college or university to obtain 1,800 or more clock hours of work experience.
The growing trend toward more active lifestyles is partially credited to the increased popularity of athletic trainers. As medicine has become more specialized, the LAT profession has also benefited. It used to be that people went to a primary care doctor for all their medical needs. That's no longer the case. When an athlete needs a doctor, he or she often wants to see someone who specializes in sports.
Although the public may first spot the LAT in a huddle on the field, the job entails an even broader scope of responsibilities. The whole credo of an athletic trainer is care. Of course, LATs tend to injuries and look for ways to enhance an athlete's performance; however, we also strive to prevent injuries, whether it's bracing and support, or spotting weaknesses by observing gait. For instance, an LAT may notice if a hamstring is tight and help with strength, weakness or imbalance.
Affiliated with UTHealth Medical School department of Orthopaedic Surgery and other area sports medicine-trained physicians, the IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute's Athletic Training Outreach Team includes several athletic trainers as well as exercise physiologists, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches and dietitians.
For high schools and colleges with LATs on staff, the Outreach Team serves as a resource by answering questions and streamlining access to Memorial Hermann-affiliated physicians and physical therapists. In addition, Outreach Team members conduct talks, seminars and student trainer education, as well as coach and athletic trainer workshops. Services are also available to both youth and adult leagues.
During the course of a typical day, an athletic trainer in the Houston area may interface with over 100 students. LATs often visit a high school, college or other sports team that doesn't have an athletic trainer. An LAT will evaluate injuries, do physician follow-ups and serve as a resource in preventing injuries by designing strength and conditioning programs.
Regardless of the sport - football, basketball, volleyball, cross country, track, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, diving, cheerleading or power lifting - athletes and athletic trainers forge a unique bond.
Nearly any athletic trainer will tell you that the most rewarding part of the job is just watching an athlete get well and return to athletic performance. There's a special relationship that develops. LATs enjoy working toward a common goal and being part of that camaraderie and team atmosphere.