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College Observing March As National Athletic Training Month

WC's Program Among the Nation's Best

March 11, 2009

When many people hear the terms “athletic training” or “athletic trainer,” they think of a weight-lifting routine or a person that monitors exercise and fitness programs for athletes.

A more accurate visual image might be the first responders when an athlete is injured during a sporting event. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg for those engaged in sports medicine and athletic training.

Athletic trainers are experts in the care of the physically active, and are recognized as an allied health care profession. They are responsible for the total healthcare of the athlete. ATs work in areas of injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, nutrition, first aid, and much more.

The athletic trainer works under the supervision of a team physician, and makes appropriate referrals when needed.

“Many people have heard of or even worked with an athletic trainer, but many, however, don’t really understand what the athletic trainer does,” said Alex Rhinehart, a senior in Wilmington College’s program and president of the Sports Medicine Leadership Council at WC.

“There is more to the athletic trainer than a fanny pack and tape,” he added.

March is National Athletic Training Month.

Wilmington College is among the smallest institutions in Ohio that are accredited in athletic training, however, with some 90 students majoring in AT, it hosts one of the state’s largest programs. It also is one of the most prominent.

One testament to its quality is WC’s senior-laden Quiz Bowl team defeated The Ohio State University and other large institutions in winning the 2009 State Athletic Training Quiz Bowl — the program’s second state title in four years.

Athletic training has a humble beginning that grew out of necessity.

Russell Miller, a 1966 WC graduate, was the first paid athletic trainer at the College. Then athletics director Fred Raizk hired Miller upon graduation. Miller went on to a celebrated career as head trainer for the Detroit Tigers and University of Michigan.

Another of Wilmington College’s athletic training alumni is Paul Sparling, a 1981 graduate and head athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Bengals for most of the team’s 40-year history. Sparling’s confidence in WC’s program has resulted in a number of student internships with the Bengals.

Also, Wilmington native Nicholas Kenney, a 1994 graduate, is assistant athletic trainer with the Cleveland Indians.

The athletic trainers’ area of expertise offers a wide array of work opportunities. They are employed with high schools, colleges and universities, professional sports teams, health clinics, hospitals and in many other settings.

“Anywhere that there are physically active individuals there is a place for athletic trainers,” Rhinehart said.

Athletic trainers have a unique educational background that makes them especially qualified to work with the physically active population. Certified Athletic Trainers are individuals that have graduated from an accredited athletic training education program and have passed the Board of Certification test.

More information can be found about athletic trainers and their profession at the National Athletic Trainers Association Web site at www.nata.org and about WC’s program at <www2.Wilmington.edu/athletic-training/>.