The “Tactical” Athletic Trainer: Healthcare for the Military

Benito J. Velasquez*

The “Tactical” Athletic Trainer: Healthcare for the Military.

As a certified and state licensed clinician in the athletic training profession, I administer treatment and therapy based on my educational background. My patients are active individuals including athletes and recreational sports participants. Over my 30+ years, I’ve treated others such as police officers or those involved in dance and performing arts. The educational preparation and job setting, as well as responsibilities for an athletic trainer have changed greatly over the years. Once the traditional setting was mostly high schools, colleges and universities, with a small percentage employed in professional sports.

Over the years the employment settings have changed to include clinics, healthcare facilities within industry, hospitals and fitness centers, law enforcement agencies, and the military. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, 37% of athletic trainers are employed in secondary schools and the college/university setting. Given this emerging setting, we need to provide a viable educational curriculum to support the emergence of the “tactical athletic trainer.”

The purpose of this editorial is to discuss the “tactical athletic trainer” as well as propose a new way of thinking about how we should educate this person for the emerging job market with the military and law-enforcement. First, some background: The emergence of the “Tactical” athletic trainer may not be new to some, but the importance of this relatively new healthcare provider cannot be more important, than to those serving in the military who have benefited by their care. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of the term “tactical” is or relating to tactics or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose, planning or maneuvering to accomplish a purpose.

Sport Exerc Med Open J. 2016; 2(1): e1-e2. doi: 10.17140/SEMOJ2-e001