Industrial Athletic Training: Sports Medicine Field On The Rise

There is a newer field in sports medicine in the workplace called Industrial Athletic Training and it is becoming very popular across the U.S. Large corporations are now hiring Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) to provide care for their employees.

Basically, they are treating their employees like athletes in that they may sustain injuries on the job whether it is traumatic, acute or chronic situations and the ATCs would be on site to treat them accordingly. The main job description is to have the workplace employees become more proactive about their physical well-being on the job. The ATCs will teach proper body mechanics, lifting techniques and posture. They will promote safe work practices and keep the employee’s body fit for work. Some corporations will provide a so-called training room for triage and injury rehabilitation. Adding an ATC to the workplace can help reduce company costs as well. There will be less workers’ compensation, decrease restricted work days and OSHA workplace accidents if employees are more aware of their health, physical duties and being proactive instead of reactive. Here are some stats from a national survey of industrial companies that hired an ATC at their workplace.

Check out these statistics:

· 94% of companies indicated the severity of injuries had decreased by at least 25%

· 68% of the companies indicated that the certified athletic trainer helped to decrease restricted workdays and workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) by more than 25%

· 50% of companies reported that the number of injuries decreased by at least 50%

· 46% of the companies that provided on-site physical rehabilitation indicated that health care costs had decreased by more than 50%

I’d like to share my personal experience of a typical day as an Industrial Athletic Trainer. I was employed by a physical therapy company and contracted to work with FedEx at the Los Angeles International Airport location.

I worked graveyard shift hours because most FedEx employees are working on the sort (workplace where envelopes, boxes, large metal containers are all sorted and transferred to the planes) throughout the night because the airplanes leave in the morning for shipment. There were over 2,000 employees I was responsible for so I met with each manager at the start of the shift getting a heads up on employees that could not perform their jobs due to physical restrictions. I would set up appointments with those employees in my training room and evaluate the injury, then discuss a treatment plan that suited the manager as far as time away from their team to work with me.

Half of my time would be walking the sort, with my safety hat, vest and steel toe work boots observing body mechanics and making any corrections necessary. All first aid, traumatic incidents would be called to my attention and I saw several crush injuries since there were hundreds of large metal containers being moved around at high speeds. On occasion, I would transport an employee to a medical facility for treatment from a physician if injuries were not improving or if any type of medication was needed to be prescribed. I was able to walk the tarmac and go into the planes to observe as well because many of those employees work in small areas and commonly work with poor ergonomics.

You will start seeing more Industrial Athletic Training programs implemented not just for companies that require high physical demands but workplaces where employees will experience overuse injuries and ergonomic deficits.

Here at OSR, we strive to promote being proactive about maintaining a healthy lifestyle inside and outside of work. If you are a business owner looking for specialized care for your employees post-accident, give us a call at 808-488-5555. We accept Workers Compensation and can give your employees the tools they need to be stronger and healthier in the workplace.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter

Leave a Comment