Athletic Training - on the field and off

From football to ballet to the world of manufacturing, athletic trainers are an important part of our daily lives. As experts in their fields, athletic trainers prevent focus on the prevention of injury, diagnosis and evaluation, rehabilitation and nutrition, and provide emergency care onsite.

Thirteen years ago, Toni Wizner began her career as an athletic trainer to assist high school athletes. This year, Wizner, an athletic trainer for Columbus Community Hospital, is celebrating her seventh year as the athletic trainer for the Columbus School District.

 “I am typically at the Columbus High School two days a week. I see athletes before and after practices,” said Wizner. “I oversee exercises with them, evaluate their progress, and make referrals for them as needed.”

Wizner assists athletes in football, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball and wrestling. Before a game, she is taping athletes and helping them stretch. During a game, she is on the sidelines ready to spring into action if a player is injured (sprain, strain, concussion, fracture or cramping) and evaluates players to determine if and when then are ready to get back in the game.

Wizner explains that athletic trainers take the pressure and stress off of the coach in terms of making the decision as to whether to allow an athlete to return to play after an injury. “I provide healthcare that is specific to athletes,” said Wizner. “Consider this, a coach’s job is to coach, a referee’s job is to ref, and an athletic trainer’s job is to evaluate, treat and make healthcare decisions in the best interest of the athlete.”

Wizner received her bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in Kinesiology (the study of human movement) from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Over the past decade, the presence of athletic trainers has increased. “There is a big push to have a full time athletic trainer in every high school, especially in rural communities where students do not have access to healthcare,” said Wizner.

But athletic trainers are not limited to the sports industry. “A lot of athletic trainers also work in the industrial setting,” said Wizner. “Some companies have an athletic trainer onsite. These trainers evaluate employees to decrease time lost due to overuse or injury on the job.”

Athletic trainers also have a presence in hospitals and clinics, professional sports organizations, police and fire departments, the military, and even the performance world, assisting with dance, ballet, and cirque du soleil performers.

Athletic trainers are trained in prevention, CPR and AED use, manual therapy, recognition and treatment of a concussion, recognition of cardiac arrest, heat stroke, and cervical spine injury.

For more information about athletic trainers, visit www.atyourownrisk.org. For more information about Columbus Community Hospital, visit www.columbuscommunityhospital.org.