Positive Promotion of the Athletic Training Profession

how are you promoting your profession?How are you promoting yourself as a professional? If you’re an athletic trainer, how are you promoting your profession?  It’s time for another Sports Med For The Masses guest blog! SMFTM is happy to have Allan Parsells, MS, ATC joining as a guest blogger. Allan is the Head Certified/Licensed Athletic Trainer at Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, New Jersey, and also serves as the Public Relations Chairman for the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey(ATSNJ). Get us thinking Mr. Parsells…


“Who is an Athletic Trainer? What does an Athletic Trainer do? These two questions can be asked to anyone outside the profession and you could get a different answer from each person polled. The name “Athletic Trainer” can be somewhat confusing to those who are not Athletic Trainers or athletes.

“Do you work in a gym and show people how to lift weights?” one might ask.

“No, I save lives.”

So where is that fine line between educating the public about what we do and seemingly complaining that people don’t know our job description? To be honest, I don’t necessarily know the answer. Education of the public is a major aspect of the Athletic Training public relations effort. In my opinion, it is one “non-traditional” aspect of the job that is most important, along with Governmental Affairs. However, there is a strategic way to go about this mission:

  1. Concentrate on our strengths as a profession rather than speaking about the “things we aren’t allowed to do, but should be.” It is one thing to talk about the educational training we go through and what we are capable of doing. It is another to begin a conversation with “I cannot believe we cannot bill insurance companies for services provided…”
  2. Talk about our education and state practice requirements. CAATE, the BOC, and state certification/licensure are huge strengths for our profession.
  3. Strength in numbers – The NATA has a stance on almost every issue facing the profession. A united front with the NATA and its membership is the best way to promote.
  4. Tone…tone…tone. The way you speak transcends your point to those you are speaking to. Focus on positives with a smooth voice. Use inflection when making important points and always make sure to have good eye contact.
  5. Beware of what you post on social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc. can be great assets when spreading information, but you must be sure you are sending a good message.

Since this is an online blog post, I am going to focus mainly on the use of social media for the promotion of the Athletic Training profession. Social media includes more than just your typical Facebook and Twitter. Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, and many others are online tools that people use to spread information, and all can be great ways to promote yourself and your profession in a positive way. Nowadays, everything we post online is linked to our name, and with the ease of use comes the increased chance of spreading information that may not promote the best message.  Avoiding this issue is very simple – all that is required is you read the article you are posting in advance of sharing.  Avoid sharing blindly.

Taking this very simple step can insure that you send the correct message through social media. Also, I have learned from personal experience that word travels quickly about the quality of information you are sharing. I have connected with multiple colleagues on Twitter that I would never have had the opportunity to meet, and we are constantly sharing information back and forth. This open communication not only aids the individual in keeping up-to-date with current research and treatment trends, but allows colleagues from all over the country (and even the world) discuss topics about the profession. This open exchange of ideas will ultimately lead to the advancement of the profession.

Education of the public is a major part of any profession, but is especially important given the misconception of what it is Athletic Trainers do. In the current world of recreational, youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletics, Athletic Trainers are playing an ever-increasing role and are more important than ever. Fortunately for us, the public is slowly learning more and more about the Athletic Training profession, and that is mainly due to the diligence of those who practice Athletic Training.  As long as we band together and present ourselves with the utmost dignity, we are destined for big things. Athletic Training is on the brink of a major breakthrough, and it is up to us as the present and future of the profession to see that the work is done.”

allan parsells big al

More about  Allan Parsells:

Allan earned both a B.S. and M.S. in Athletic Training from East Stroudsburg University. In his spare time, Parsells enjoys avidly rooting for the New York Mets and spending time with his family and friends. He resides in Kingwood, New Jersey with his wife Katie, his son Aidan, and their dog, Rosie. Wish to connect with Allan? You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter (@AllanATC) and he can be reached at (allan.parsells@gmail.com). You can also follow the ATSNJ on Facebook  and on Twitter (@atsnj – professional page, @NJSportSafety – public page).

2 thoughts on “Positive Promotion of the Athletic Training Profession

  1. joe

    Hi Allen can you give me some examples, on how athletic training is on the brink of a major breakthrough?
    Cause here in CA we are at the lowest on the toteam pole
    Thanks
    Jo

    Reply
  2. Allan

    Joe,

    Thank you for reaching out to me with your question. I have been following the California “issue” through social media as it unfolded and the result was very unfortunate.

    As for athletic training being on the brink of a major breakthrough, I was referring to the need for athletic trainers coming to the forefront of the athletics conversation… At least here in NJ. Concussions are always a topic of conversation and athletic trainers must be involved in those conversations. With the start of preseason there is news coverage on heat acclimatization, hydration and sudden cardiac incidents. The unfortunate part is that these conversations are usually prompted by some tragic event occurring without an AT present.

    Last year I took over at a school that had not had an athletic trainer hired through the school before I accepted the position. My first year was a struggle “PR-wise” as a lot of the parents, and even some athletes, did not know why I was there. After a full school year I can say that most, if not all of the parents I interacted with now understand the role of an AT as well as the importance of having one.

    It is those aspects of the current media surrounding athletics that I believe athletic training is on the verge of a breakthrough. We, as a profession, must remain diligent. It is a combination of perseverance, hard work, and doing a good job that will propel athletic training into the spotlight. I truly believe California will soon begin to realize that state credentials are necessary and see the value in having an athletic trainer.

    I hope that I answered your question. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to email me at allan.parsells@gmail.com. I look forward to our continued dialogue.

    All the best,

    Allan

    Reply

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