Athletic Trainers in Occupational Healthcare – What to Consider

Athletic trainer helping an employee

The final blog in our athletic trainer series explains the benefits to occupational health programs & explains what a company should look for in a provider.

Author: Michael Donahue (DAT, LAT, ATC)

September 25, 2023

This is the sixth and final blog in CAREonsite’s series that explains how businesses can best utilize athletic trainers (AT) to improve the care and wellness of their employees. If you want to start at the beginning of the series, please go here.

In this blog series, we discussed how athletic trainers are a valuable asset in the occupational health setting. They can elevate on-site care, be paired with virtual services like telemedicine to increase access to expert care, work with employers on injury prevention methods, and elevate the effectiveness of a physical demand analysis.

The final blog of this series reviews facts and case studies that show the effectiveness of using athletic trainers in occupational settings and explains what businesses should look for when choosing athletic trainer services.

Is an Athletic Trainer Right for Your Occupational Health Program?

The use of ATs in the occupational health setting is growing in popularity because their expert training in musculoskeletal injuries makes them a perfect fit for industries where injuries like sprains, strains, and tears are common. Like athletes, injured workers require on-the-spot medical attention to minimize an injury’s severity and reduce downtime when an incident happens.

However, a company must carefully evaluate if adding an athletic trainer will improve outcomes for their occupational health program. A good place to start is considering if your business can benefit from an athletic trainer who can deliver.

  1. Expertise in musculoskeletal injury evaluation and treatment – the most common kind of workplace injury. Learn more here.

  2. Versatile jack-of-all-trade ability in that they can handle injury treatment, ergonomic assessments, and wellness initiatives. Learn more here.

  3. Preventative job conditioning programs that help to build a stronger and safer workforce. Learn more here.

How Do You Prove an Athletic Trainer is Worth It?

Even though ATs are relatively new to the occupational health setting, their positive impact can be clearly demonstrated with data and case studies. Here are some facts to consider.

  1. OSHA estimates that overuse and chronic injuries account for 85% of workplace injuries. These types of injuries play directly to the skills of ATs, who can achieve better outcomes because of their knowledge of musculoskeletal issues.

  2. A National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) survey showed companies that employ an AT reported a 50% decrease in workplace injuries.

  3. A NATA report found that 80% of companies that employ an AT achieved a positive $3 return on every $1 invested. Some companies report up to $7. 

CAREonsite AT Case Study – Cutting WC Claims by 80%

CAREonsite’s experience also proves that athletic trainer services can lead to positive outcomes for our clients. For example, the case study below illustrates how CAREonsite’s AT services helped a major manufacturer significantly cut worker compensation claims.

The Problem:

The manufacturer’s Iowa location had high workers’ comp costs from preventable musculoskeletal injuries (MSD). They wanted a partner to help them take preventative actions to improve employee health and their bottom line.

The Solution:

CAREonsite athletic trainers tackled the problem by conducting preventative assessments, including a physical demand analysis (PDA), that identified the issues causing MSD at the manufacturer’s location. The athletic trainers then worked closely with the manufacturer’s EH&S staff to modify work duties and train workers on improved safety procedures to avoid unnecessary injuries. In the first two years, CAREonsite reduced workers’ comp claims by 80% (over $ 1.1 million).

Athletic trainers help prevent injuries

The Advantage of CAREonsite AT Services

ATs are valuable members of any occupational health team – they are versatile, highly-trained professionals who bring unmatched expertise in managing musculoskeletal injuries common to workplaces like sprains, strains, and tears. However, not all athletic trainer services are the same. To be most effective, athletic trainer services need to:

  1. Be adaptable to a business’s resources, use case, location, and integrate well with existing workplace health solutions.

  2. Offer the best training and qualifications. It is best to have Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) who are part of a larger occupational health ecosystem where they have access to the latest training and knowledge of workplace health trends.

  3. Be part of an occupational health vendor that understands how to properly integrate AT expertise in its workplace health solutions. CAREonsite can leverage decades of experience to help a company prevent injuries and reach optimal outcomes for injured employees.

Flexible solutions for a full range of AT services

CAREonsite’s AT services stand out and bring added value for businesses because we offer you the flexibility of services directly at your site, virtually through telemedicine, or a hybrid combination of the two. We understand that businesses, and even individual worksites, have unique conditions you need to account for.

On-site Services

Having a certified athletic trainer on-site can make a difference because they have more expertise in treating orthopedic injuries than an EMT or nurse.

  • Conducting injury prevention programs, movement screens, and ergonomic assessments

  • Assisting with employee warm-ups and wellness programs

  • Providing on-site injury care to reduce the need for ER visits and unnecessary escalations

Read the full blog here.

Virtual Services

With the rise of telehealth, providing your industrial athletes with preventative and injury care from athletic trainers is now a realistic option. Virtual AT programs increase access to expert care that improves health outcomes and injury management metrics for common workplace injuries.

  • Improve access to care for underserved worksites – no more waiting in clinics

  • Provides worksites that cannot justify a full-time trainer access to a certified AT

  • Virtual preventative assessments, including ergonomic and job requirement risks – focused on preventing future injuries

Read the full blog here.

Hybrid Services

CAREonsite is also one of the only providers that allows you to mix both on-site and virtual athletic trainer services for your company.

  • Best of both worlds between virtual and on-site

  • Provides an opportunity for a customized ATC experience

  • A budget-friendly option to get an on-site athletic trainer

Don’t Wait, Elevate Care with Athletic Trainers

Learn how CAREonsite athletic trainer services can help your business. Contact us today! We are happy to run through options and answer any questions you may have.