Athletic trainer: Much more than ice and tape

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 8:51 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:11 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills player who collapsed on the field in January, was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to advocate for more Automatic External Defibrillators or AEDs, the portable device that can jump start the heart. Athletic trainers used one at that game to save his life.

Here in Lubbock, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center wants people to know they have a nationally accredited program here to certify athletic trainers. These trainers coordinate the athletes’ overall health care plan under the supervision of a licensed physician. Dr. Larry Munger, Ph.D., is the assistant program director for the Master of Athletic Training Program at TTUHSC.

“We’re one of the larger programs, we have over 400 graduates over our history and we have them internationally at all different levels,” he said.

Dr. Munger will tell you it’s a big misconception that trainers simply stand on the sidelines and hand out ice and water or tape something. Today, the specialty goes way beyond that. Many companies are looking for athletic trainers to serve as injury prevention specialists.

Frank Perez, MAT, is Assistant Athletics Director of Texas Tech University Sports Medicine and athletic trainer for track and field athletes.

“From the Sports Medicine Department from mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and our coaches, we have to be all together and provide that collaborative care to put out a great product,” he said.

According to new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are going to see an increasing demand for athletic trainers in the coming years with a projected growth by 17% through 2031.

March is designated National Athletic Training month, but any month is a good time to look at what TTUHSC has to offer to students interested in pursuing that career.