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what skills are required to become a athletic trainer for professional sports? #athletictrainer #sportsmedicine #kinesiology

My career goal is to become an athletic trainer for professional sports teams such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, etc. Im asking what are the main skill requirements to obtain this job? #athletictrainer #sportsmedicine #kinesiology

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Rick’s Answer


This article may help.

This is a very tough field to get into to focus on professional sports... It's certainly something you can accomplish.

Becoming a sports medicine physician requires obtaining a bachelor's degree and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. During their undergraduate years, students will need to take pre-med classes in biology, anatomy and chemistry. Medical school is a 4-year program in which the last two years include clinical rotations.

How does a physician become an NFL team physician?

Team physicians are trained in Orthopaedic Surgery, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine or Emergency Medicine. Many have also completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine. This means the physician has completed four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school, four to five years of residency, and one year of fellowship training. Most NFL team physicians have previous experience as a team physician at the high school and/or college level.

Each member of the NFL team’s medical staff is chosen by the team’s front office.

As required by the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), all Head Team Physicians (orthopedic and medicine) and medicine physicians (internal medicine, family medicine or emergency medicine) joining as a Team Physician after 2011 must be Board Certified in Sports Medicine.

Many team physicians also serve as a team physician for other major sports teams (NHL, MLB, NBA) in their cities.

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Robby’s Answer

In order to become an athletic trainer, you would need to graduate from an accredited college. At the moment many are transitioning to a masters program, which would typically take 5 years of college to complete. After graduating, you would need to pass the BOC (board of certification) test to become a certified athletic trainer (ATC). You would complete basic paperwork with the state you want to practice in to become a licensed athletic trainer (LAT). It is extremely competitive to become an athletic trainer with professional sports. Each team has one head athletic trainer, so there is a very limited number of spots. You would definitely need to work your way up the ladder and gain experience. Internships or jobs with high schools, colleges, or professional teams would help you gain experience and meet good mentors as you work towards that goal. You would need to be hard working, kind to the athletes, and organized. A good knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and general medical experience is also key.