When most people hear “athletic trainer,” they think of the people on the sidelines at football games who come out onto the field to deal with injuries, but athletic trainers are much more than that. March is National Athletic Training Month, making it the perfect time to recognize all that athletic trainers contribute. Did you know athletic trainers have in-depth medical training and education? With physician oversight, they can operate much as a nurse does in a medical setting. “I’ve been an athletic trainer for 35 years. I work in a doctor’s office a couple times a week, in physical therapy three days a week and in Eagleton Schools as an athletic trainer. We’re really diverse in what we can do,” Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation certified athletic trainer Lelia Siano said.
In fact, the athletic trainers can do everything in the five domains of athletic training, which include: injury and illness prevention, and wellness promotion; examination, assessment and diagnosis; immediate and emergency care; therapeutic intervention; and health care administration and professional responsibility. “We have medical backgrounds,” Siano said. “I worked in the emergency room for eight months. We’ve had people who helped in doctor’s offices. Some have worked as nurse aides or did COVID-19 screenings. We have that background – we can start IVs; we can suture with physician oversight. We do tons of casting and bracing. Most people don’t realize we can do all those things,” Siano added.
Blount Memorial’s athletic trainers’ time on the sidelines of local sports teams and events is donated to the schools by the hospital. Last year, they gave more than 10,000 hours of service as athletic trainers to our area, serving more than 1,500 student athletes. Through these athletic trainers, at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) has been donated to every high school and CPR training is provided to all coaching staff. The athletic trainers cover all high-impact sports associated with the schools and offer availability to evaluate athletes in lower-impact or no-contact sports. Each school team also has an emergency action plan (EAP) created specifically for them by athletic trainers, which addresses how to handle medical emergencies or traumatic injuries. Through the athletic trainers, free EAP education is provided every July. Athletic trainers collaborate with OrthoTennessee and Blount Memorial Physicians Group to offer free sports physicals to high school athletes each April. In addition, a sports clinic run by the athletic trainers is available at Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation at Cherokee weekdays from 7-8 a.m.
“We may not be at the school every single day but we’re at a game every day and doing what we can in the community to educate and train so we set our schools up for success,” Siano said. “We’re constantly watching out for these athletes, coaches and visitors any way we can to make sure we can help,” Siano added.
For more information about athletic trainers or Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation, call 865-238-6118.