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About MATS

The Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society (MATS) is an organization comprised of certified athletic trainers (ATC's), non-certified athletic training students, and other health care professionals. Together, we strive to improve the quality of health care for the general population through continued education and research in the area of injury prevention, recognition, treatment, management, and rehabilitation.

One of MATS' goals is to educate the community about our profession and how we can better improve health care. This is partially achieved through public relations via our many active board and council positions and our fellow MATS members. Further assistance can come from you, the public. The more the public is knowledgeable in the health care profession of athletic training, the louder our voices will be heard.

Athletic trainers, supervised by licensed physicians, are professionally equipped to work in hospital and clinical rehabilitation settings, high school athletic and educational settings, collegiate athletic and educational settings, professional athletic settings, industrial settings and military settings. The American Medical Association also recognized athletic training as a health care profession in 1998, and currently, 43 states have some form of regulation for the profession in place.

Everyday there is a chance that you or someone you know may become injured while being physically active, participation in organized sports, or just performing activities of daily living. Such injuries can be minor or life threatening. If an injury is to occur, it's important that proper recognition, treatment, rehabilitation and injury prevention is received.

About Athletic Trainers

Education, Certification and Scope of Practice

All athletic trainers have a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university. Athletic trainers are health care professionals equivalent to physical, occupational, speech, language and other similar therapists. ALL certified or licensed athletic trainers must have a bachelors or masters degree from an accredited college or university. Academic programs are accredited through an independent process by the
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

The following educational content standards are required for athletic training degree programs:

  • Acute care of injury and illness
  • Assessment of injury and illness
  • Exercise physiology
  • General medical conditions and disabilities
  • Health care administration
  • Human anatomy
  • Human physiology
  • Kinesiology/biomechanics
  • Medical ethics and legal issues
  • Nutrition
  • Pathology of injury and illness
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional development and responsibilities
  • Psychosocial intervention and referral
  • Risk management and injury/illness prevention
  • Statistics and research design
  • Strength training and reconditioning
  • Therapeutic exercise and rehabilitative techniques
  • Therapeutic modalities
  • Weight management and body composition

Certified athletic trainers are highly educated
Seventy (70) percent of ATC credential holders have a masters degree or more advanced degree. This great majority of practitioners who hold advance degrees is comparable to other allied health care professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, speech therapists and many other health care practitioners.

Athletic trainers know and practice the medical arts at the highest professional standards
Athletic trainers specialize in injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for all physically active people, including the general public.

The independent Board of Certification Inc. (BOC) nationally certifies athletic trainers. Athletic trainers must pass an examination and hold a bachelors degree to become an Athletic Trainer, Certified (ATC). To retain certification, ATC credential holders must obtain 80 hours of medically related continuing education credits every three years and adhere to a Code of Ethics. The BOC is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Athletic trainers are recognized allied health care professionals and have been part of the American Medical Associations Health Professions Career and Education Directory for more than a decade. Additionally, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, among others, are all strong clinical and academic supporters of athletic trainers.

Employment Settings and Patient Care

More than 50 percent of NATAs certified athletic trainer members work outside of school athletic settings and provide services to physically active people of all ages. Certified athletic trainers work in physician offices as physician extenders. They also work in rural and urban hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, urgent and ambulatory care centers, military hospitals, physical therapy clinics, high schools, colleges/universities, commercial settings, professional sports teams and performing arts companies. They are multi-skilled health care workers who, like others in the medical community with science based degrees, are in great demand because of the continuing and increasing shortage of registered nurses and other health care workers. The skills of ATCs have been sought and valued by sports medicine specialists and other physicians for more than 50 years. As the U.S. begins its fight against the obesity epidemic, it is important that people have access to health care professionals who can support lifelong physical activity.

The American Medical Association (AMA) granted Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for athletic training evaluation and re-evaluation (97005, 97006) in 2000. The codes became effective in 2002. In addition, the American Hospital Association established Uniform Billing (UB) codes, or revenue codes, for athletic training in 1999, effective 2000.

Results from a nationwide Medical Outcomes Survey conducted 1996-1998 demonstrate that care provided by ATCs effects a significant change in all outcomes variables measured, with the greatest change in functional outcomes and physical outcomes. The investigation indicates that care provided by ATCs generates a change in health-related quality of life patient outcomes. (ref: Albohm MJ, Wilkerson GB. An outcomes assessment of care provided by certified athletic trainers. J Rehabil. Outcomes Meas. 1999; 3(3):51-56.)

ATCs frequently work in rural, frontier and medically underserved areas and with physically active people of all ages
ATCs are accustomed to working in urgent care environments that have challenging, sometimes even adverse, work and environmental conditions. The athletic training tradition and hands-on clinical and academic education combine to create a health care professional who is flexible and inventive -- ideal managers of patient care and health care delivery. ATCs are generally a replacement, not an addition, to other types of physical medicine therapies performed.

ATCs specialize in patient education to prevent injury and re-injury and reduce rehabilitative and other health care costs
Recent studies, reports, outcomes measures surveys, total joint replacement studies and many other case studies demonstrate how the services of ATCs save money for employers and improve quality of life for patients. For each $1 invested in preventive care, employers gained up to a $7 return on investment according to one NATA survey. The use of certified athletic trainers supports a market-driven health care economy that increases competition in order to reduce patient and disease costs. Through the use of proper rehabilitation and evaluation, athletic trainers prevent re-injury. The patients standard of care is enhanced, not sacrificed, with ATCs.

ATCs provide the same or better outcomes in clinical settings as other providers, including physical therapists
Results of a comparative analysis of care provided by certified athletic trainers and physical therapists in a clinical setting indicated ATCs provide the same levels of outcomes, value and patient satisfaction as physical therapists in a clinical setting (ref: Reimbursement of Athletic Training by Albohm, MJ; Campbell, Konin, pp.25). Patient satisfaction ratings are more than 96 percent when treatment is provided by ATCs.

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