Athletic Trainers Storm Today Show Plaza to Promote National Athletic Training Month

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In honor of National Athletic Training Month (NATM) and to promote awareness to a national audience, certified athletic trainers, athletic training students, and student-athletes from four states, including New York, convened at The Today Show plaza to kick off the month-long event. In addition, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA), has organized a variety of other state-wide initiatives to bring sport-related health and safety into the spotlight.

SBU gives NYSATA a shout-out at The Today Show plaza!

With the increasing awareness of sports related injuries, including but not limited to concussions and heat related illness, it is important to recognize that having an athletic trainer at all sporting events is essential in saving the lives of athletes.

Despite the bitter cold, over 200 certified athletic trainers (ATs), athletic training students (ATSs), and student-athletes from at least ten colleges and universities gathered at The Today Show plaza at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center on Friday, February 28th in New York City to kick off National Athletic Training Month (NATM), which is held each March. This was a combined effort by the four states - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Delaware - that, together, comprise District two of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a not-for-profit organization that serves as the national professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession.

The athletic training contingent stormed the plaza with signs promoting NATM and gained recognition among the show’s production and anchor staff. Al Roker even mentioned the group on air during his weather report. Those in attendance were excited at the experience and eager to display their pride in their profession, letting the nation know that, as ATs, "We've Got Your Back".

NYSATA would like to thank the Stony Brook University Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP), who started this effort in 2013 and organized the 2014 event, as well as the other four participating ATEPs from NYS: SUNY Cortland, Dominican College, Hofstra University, and LIU Brooklyn. Kudos also go out to the Farmingdale State College (SUNY) Athletic Training staff and student-athletes who joined the event.

The 2014 NATM theme is “We’ve Got Your Back”, which is fitting in both literal and figurative aspects. Athletic trainers are most well-known for providing sports healthcare to help prevent, manage, and rehabilitate physical musculoskeletal injuries. In many cases, however, the AT is also relied on by the [student-] athletes for emotional and psychological support, as well as general health and wellness counseling, such as nutritional advice.

With the increasing awareness of sports related injuries, including but not limited to concussions and heat related illness, it is important to recognize that having an athletic trainer at all sporting events is essential in saving the lives of athletes. The contributions of ATs to the health and safety of athletes of all ages and abilities cannot be underestimated. By appearing at The Today Show plaza, athletic trainers and students alike hope to familiarize the general public throughout the U.S. with their abilities as athletic health care experts.

In addition to participating in the Today Show Plaza appearance, NYSATA is also sponsoring a variety of other events throughout March in celebration of National Athletic Training Month. A Twitter Trivia contest (@GO_NYSATA, #NYNATM2014) and an Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) Student Video contest are all underway and open through the end of the month – check them out and participate today!

NYSATA also continues to spread awareness about head and brain injuries, including sport-related concussion. Again this year, NYSATA has teamed up with the Brain Injury Association of NYS (BIANYS) and Ray Ciancaglini of The Second Impact, a former boxer turned concussion awareness advocate who suffers from chronic post-concussive brain disease, to jointly promote NATM and Brain Injury Awareness Month - both in March. On Monday, March 10th, West Irondequoit and Eastridge High Schools hosted Ray for a joint presentation to school officials, parents and athletes. On Thursday, March 27th, The College at Brockport Athletic Department and AT Education Department (ATEP) will be hosting Ray to speak to their student-athletes, athletic staff, and athletic training students. The following day, on Friday, March 28th, Ray will be the keynote speaker at SUNY Cortland’s 2014 Sports Medicine Symposium.

For more information on these events, visit NYSATA’s NATM webpage at:

NYSATA, founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training (AT) by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in NYS. Athletic training is practiced by certified athletic trainers (ATs), who have expertise in the assessment, emergency management, rehabilitation and prevention of acute and chronic sport-related injuries, illnesses and conditions, including concussions. Comprised of over 1,200 certified and practicing athletic trainers, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the regional Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) and District Two of the NATA.

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Deanna Errico

Kristy Hart
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