WHO WE ARE | ABOUT MATS
Who We Are
Athletic trainers (AT) are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients across age and care continuums. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities (1). ATs work under the direction of physicians, as prescribed by state licensure statutes.
The statutory title of “athletic trainer” is a misnomer. Athletic trainers provide medical services to all types of people - not just athletes participating in sports - and do not train people as personal or fitness trainers do. The AT profession was founded on providing medical services to athletes. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) represents more than 45,000 members in the U.S. and internationally. Even though ATs provide health care to many types of patients, the profession continues to embrace its proud culture and history by retaining the title. In other countries, athletic therapist and physiotherapist are similar titles.
The Michigan Athletic Trainers’ Society (MATS) is a professional membership organization for Athletic Trainers, Athletic Training students, and others who seek to advance the profession of Athletic Training in the State of Michigan. As of 2023, MATS is comprised of over 1,000 members.
Athletic trainers are professionally equipped to provide health care in many different employment settings including, but not limited to, hospital and clinical rehabilitation settings, high school athletic and educational settings, collegiate athletic and educational settings, professional athletic settings, youth sports settings, physician offices, performing arts, industrial and occupational settings, public safety, physician extender settings, and military settings.
Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. Academic curriculum and clinical training follows the medical model. To become certified athletic trainers, students must graduate with a master’s degree from an accredited professional athletic training program and pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification. Once certified, they must meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified. Those who become certified must also apply for an athletic trainer license through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Following licensure, the athletic trainer is ready to practice professionally.
Coursework needed for initial certification includes:
Risk management and injury prevention
Pathology of injuries and illnesses
Orthopedic clinical examination and diagnosis
Medical conditions and disabilities
Acute care of injuries and illnesses
Conditioning, rehabilitative exercise and referral
Psychosocial intervention and referral
Nutritional aspects of injuries and illnesses
Health care administration
Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences. For more information on ATs and the profession of athletic training, please visit the Resources page.
1. "Strategic implementation team defines profession". NATA News (12/2007): 14. 2007