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What Does a Sports Trainer Do?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A sports trainer is a highly qualified professional who helps individuals prevent and manage injuries sustained during physical exertion. They also help to recognize and rehabilitate injuries already made by previous activity. This sort of trainer is there to help athletes on their road to a better recovery, if an injury does occur, but will take the necessary steps to ensure that all of the exercises and training done by that athlete is as safe as possible to avoid an injury from occurring in the first place.

Sports trainers — also called athletic trainers — are sometimes confused with personal trainers, but these two types of trainers are very different. While personal trainers schedule and plan workouts to help people get in shape, the main duty of a sports trainer is to prevent injuries. Trainers are able to tape joints and muscles so injury will not happen. Often, a sports trainer will also be responsible for helping individuals through rehabilitation. This may involve working alongside physicians and other medical staff.

Sports trainers are armed with the knowledge to prevent most injuries. They use their knowledge of nutrition, anatomy conditions, and protective equipment in training to help individuals involved in sports succeed. They also have knowledge of physiology, psychology, and biomechanics.

In order for one of these trainers to help individuals with rehabilitation, they must take several college courses. To be a certified sports trainer they may need at least a bachelor’s degree. Specific courses are set by the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainers. Trainers may need to undergo clinical training, or hands on training. Even though many trainers are only required to have a bachelor’s degree, some go on to obtain their master’s or doctorate if they are considering work with a college or university.

A sports trainer works very closely with doctors, nurses, and other types of health care providers. These trainers can also work with coaches, parents and athletic administrators. Licensing for sports trainers does not dictate the age group a specific trainer will work with; instead, a trainer's place of employment generally determines the average age.

Sports trainers may be employed in very unusual location, such as professional dance studios, NASCAR, and professional entertainment workplaces. Some may work in schools, colleges, and universities. They can also work in professional athletic organizations, for the military or even in health clubs. They are also trained to work in sports medicine clinics and corporate health programs.

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