Athletic training is still a growing profession. Most people think of athletic trainers working either in a high school setting or collegiate setting with a sports team. But, athletic trainers are continuing to be hired in nontraditional settings. Athletic trainers now hold positions working in hospitals, with performing arts, public safety, occupational, and military settings.
Athletic training in the military has recently become more prevalent. According to the NATA there are currently eight contracted Certified Athletic Trainers working at Marine Corps bases, 6 ATCs working with Navy Seals as well as 3 ATCs working in a clinical setting for the Navy. Just recently an ATC was assigned to work on an aircraft carrier for the Navy. The Coast Guard has 3 ATCs working at their training site at Cape May, NJ. Right now there are limited positions available for athletic trainers working with the US Air Force and US Army. The United States Army and the United States Marine Corps have hired athletic trainers to work with cadets at boot camp. Another avenue athletic trainers are used for the military is through the Academies. The United States Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Military Academy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academy, as well as the Preparatory Schools employ over 50 Certified Athletic Trainers. The Athletic Trainers work with the sports teams as well as the cadets. Most certified athletic trainers are contracted to work with the military or are part of the Government Civil Service System.
People don’t tend to realize that soldiers get injured during training. The most common injuries seen in the military during training are musculoskeletal. Injuries include but are not limited to Achilles tendonitis, patellar femoral syndrome (runner’s knee), plantar fascia, sprained ankles, stress fractures, shin splints, blisters and bursitis. The military has recently seen an increase in injuries due to the younger generation not being as physically fit going into basic training as others have been in the past. The younger generation has been sitting at home playing video games and not playing outside like generations in the past have done.
Studies have shown that athletic trainers working with the military can save the government both time and money. Auburn University works with Ft. Benning through the Warrior Research Center. In the first three years that Auburn University started working with the cadets they found they saved the military about $6.6 million dollars and 894,600 training hours. Their research helped show the benefits the military receives from having athletic trainers working at their base. Other Universities are starting programs for athletic trainers to work with the ROTC or nearby bases. Soldiers lose training time due to injuries but with ATCs working with them they are able to return to work missing less time.
The salary of an athletic trainer working with the military is fairly consistent with the mean income of their fellow professional’s median income. Many athletic trainers have found this to be a very unique career opportunity that has demands and rewards unlike most other settings. Job postings for military athletic training positions can be found through various internet sites including NATA.org and usajobs.opm.gov if you care to know more about the opportunities that are out there.