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What Is an Industrial Athletic Trainer? 

industrial athletic trainer

Occupational healthcare is an ever-evolving branch of medicine, with new methods of preventing and treating work-related injuries being implemented frequently. One of the newest and most sought-after disciplines within occupational health is the industrial athletic trainer. 

Understanding Industrial Athletic Trainers 

Industrial athletic trainers are experienced, skilled athletic trainers who specialize in the prevention, assessment and treatment of occupational-related injuries, often musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses. They are trained to evaluate a worker’s physical condition and their work environment, identifying potential hazards that could cause or contribute to injuries. 

In addition to providing onsite ergonomic assessments, stretching strategies and physical therapy, industrial athletic trainers work with employees’ outside medical providers to create a comprehensive care plan to help the worker get healthy and strong. 

How Are Industrial Athletic Trainers Different From Traditional Athletic Trainers? 

An industrial athletic trainer has all the same training and qualifications as a traditional athletic trainer, except the “athletes” an industrial athletic trainer assists are everyday workers. Both professionals prioritize preventing injuries, and work to identify and correct conditions that could lead to injury for their patients. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Industrial Athletic Trainers 

As key members of an onsite occupational healthcare team, industrial athletic trainers play a crucial role in reducing rates of work-related injuries and helping get injured workers back on the job faster. 

Injury Prevention Strategies 

Ergonomic assessments are a major part of the strategies industrial athletic trainers employ to evaluate a worker’s space and their day-to-day conditions. These assessments can help identify easy fixes that can greatly improve a worker’s health, such as raising a table to a more ergonomically friendly height or adjusting the placement of necessary equipment to avoid frequent bending and twisting. 

Workers experiencing aches and pains at work also visit the industrial athletic trainer for evaluation. If the trainer can identify the cause of the pain, they can work with the employee to correct it and avoid a more serious injury. Stretching and strengthening exercises also can be demonstrated to help the worker alleviate their pain and gain mobility and strength to improve their condition. 

Industrial athletic trainers also frequently walk through a facility and observe workers carrying out their duties. These walks can help illuminate conditions that could lead to injuries, allowing them to be mitigated before anyone is hurt. 

Onsite Rehabilitation Programs 

Not all injuries can be fully prevented, and workers who experience on-the-job injuries can benefit from the convenience of onsite industrial athletic trainers. Rather than visiting a separate physical therapist — especially once they are back to work — an injured worker can receive the rehab they need at your onsite clinic.  

This access is not only convenient for the worker, but it has an added benefit of providing more specialized care than an offsite provider might. An industrial athletic trainer spends their working hours in your facility, getting to know your workers and the conditions under which they work every day. This allows the trainer to create customized treatment plans that will help your injured worker get back to their best, most productive self at work. 

Your workers can schedule these appointments around their workdays, visiting the clinic at lunch, on breaks or before or after work, avoiding the need to take time off work for their follow-up care. This reduces overall absenteeism connected with work-related injuries and increases productivity for your workforce. 

Collaborating With Employers and Onsite Providers 

When a worker is injured on the job, their needs when they do return to work may shift to accommodate their injuries. This requires frequent, meaningful communication between the industrial athletic trainer and you as an employer. 

If a worker is cleared to return to modified duties, for example, you can work with an industrial athletic trainer to ensure the tasks they’re asked to complete are appropriate for the worker’s level of healing. This helps you give the worker tasks that aren’t going to cause them to become re-injured but also that will be challenging enough to keep them engaged at work. 

An industrial athletic trainer’s presence also can help you improve overall working conditions, preventing further injuries. As the trainer works with your team, they may begin to identify things that could be adjusted for everyone, creating a safer, healthier working environment. This will reduce your overall injury rates, keep workers on the job and decrease your costs. 

Benefits of Industrial Athletic Trainers 

Having an industrial athletic trainer allows you and your workers to benefit in a variety of ways. 

Reducing Rates of Workplace Injuries and Associated Costs 

Because industrial athletic trainers focus heavily on preventing injuries, their presence at your worksite can help you head off potentially expensive incidents. Musculoskeletal injuries, a key type of injury industrial athletic trainers help identify and avoid, are among the most costly claims, according to National Council on Compensation Insurance data: 

  • Neck: $65,659 
  • Arm/shoulders: $49,838 
  • Lower back: $39,328 
  • Upper back: $35,439 
  • Knee: $35,332 

Even avoiding one or two of these injuries per year can save your business hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs, workers’ compensation costs, lost productivity and administrative costs.  

Your workers benefit by being able to take steps to prevent injuries that can be painful, frustrating and cost them time off work. 

Improving Worker Productivity and Health 

Healthy workers are productive workers. By giving workers access to industrial athletic trainers who can help them stretch and strengthen their bodies to keep up with the strain of their on-the-job duties, you’re playing a key part in their health and wellness. 

Workers may struggle with making time for their general wellbeing. A 2023 survey found that 44% of Americans had skipped or delayed necessary healthcare services during the past two years. If workers aren’t taking care of themselves properly outside of work, they may not be at their best while on the clock. This can lead to a higher risk of a work-related injury and time off work. 

When workers can quickly visit an industrial athletic trainer over their lunch break to get their shoulder pain looked at, for example, they are more likely to take steps to correct the problem and avoid further injuries. 

Creating a Culture of Safety 

Industrial athletic trainers are trained to identify conditions that could lead to workers having accidents and getting injured. If a trainer is present at your facility, they can observe the space for potential hazards and work with you to mitigate those hazards before they become a problem. 

Seeing that you are invested in creating a safe workspace can trickle down to your employees. They may be more likely to look for safety concerns, or they’ll be more careful in their day-to-day duties, helping you further avoid workplace accidents. 

Your Source for Skilled Industrial Athletic Trainers 

At Medcor, we firmly believe that preventing work-related injuries is key to helping our clients make their workplaces safer and control their costs. Our integrated injury prevention service includes onsite industrial athletic trainers to help your workers avoid injuries and recover faster when they are injured. Take the next step in workplace injury prevention — speak to an advocate today