I write this editorial as I jettison 6 miles above the Pacific Ocean on a return flight to the United States from Sydney, Australia. I was in Sydney attending the 4th International Ankle Symposium with researchers, educators, and clinicians from around the globe. What struck me most about the conference was the presence of certified athletic trainers from the United States and how they were such an integral part of this triennial meeting.
From the keynote address to the hands-on workshops, athletic trainers were sharing expertise and knowledge on an important athletic-related injury topic, ankle instability, in addition to other related ankle pathologies. All had active voices in the International Ankle Consortium, the leadership and advocacy group for the treatment of ankle injuries worldwide. It was refreshing to see that the skill set and knowledge base that athletic trainers possess regarding ankle injuries is influencing how the entire world manages ankle sprains.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the involvement of athletic trainers on the world stage is not limited only to those of us associated with the ankle group; instead, certified athletic trainers are influential in other areas of sports health as well. For example, Dr Kevin Guskiewicz, along with several other certified athletic trainers, has been instrumental in shaping the sport-related concussion management guidelines for several years now as part of the International Conference on Concussion in Sport. Following each of these meetings, position statements have been put forth governing assessment and treatment guidelines. Another example of the global reach of certified athletic trainers includes participation in the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy (WFATT) by members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). I extend a special kudos to Dr Michael Ferrara for his early efforts in establishing this coalition involving a number of sports health care organizations committed to promoting quality health care for active populations worldwide. Although these are just three examples involving global opportunities in which certified athletic trainers have participated, I’m sure there are many more that I have failed to mention.
Collectively, athletic trainers are NOT a passive group of allied health professionals; instead, they are hard working, overachieving, and willing to share their message without borders or boundaries. Instead of sitting idle on the sidelines, certified athletic trainers are active in influencing the direction of sports health care policy on the broader global stage. This involvement works to strengthen and reinforce their position as the LEADERS in sports health care, not only in the United States, but also abroad. I’m proud to say that I’m part of that group.