The regular debate on changing the title of our profession has fired up once again. I think the movement is an interesting one and I understand the impetus behind it.
That said, I can't imagine undoing the 60+ years of history and work and our most recent public relations successes just to start over.
Athletic training is gaining ground in our battle. Proper terminology by our practitioners, patients and the media is leading to a wider understanding of our skill set and state legislation related to concussions is shining a light on the lack of adequate health care in many secondary schools.
CNN has become a great advocate for athletic training, most recently highlighting our profession in Dr. Sanjay Gupta (a neurosurgeon, by the way) documentary on concussions: Big Hits, Broken Dreams.
Dr. Gupta even goes so far, on his blog, to say the following:
"...There are ways to play football more safely, and still win.
Whether it is the mandatory presence of athletic trainers who can diagnose concussions and are empowered to sit a player out..."
An endorsement of our skills from a widely recognized neurosurgeon! That's big.
A year ago I posted this...JUSTIFIED and I feel in one year we have made even more progress.
Are we there yet? No, but I don't think a name change is going to bridge the gap.
What name would adequately encapsulate our skills and give us the recognition we so desire?
Sports Therapist or Athletic Therapist?
Active Sports Medicine Therapist and First Responder?
Preventative Athletic Rehabilitator?
Even if we do make a change, we would be referenced like this: "the athletic therapist, formerly athletic trainer..."
Do we really want to be known as "the profession formerly known as athletic trainer?"
Instead of focusing on the name, how about we continue our push for public recognition and the ground we are gaining won't be lost.
The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name.