Athletic Training Month: Courtney Putnam, LAT from Shelby, shares her reason for choosing Athletic Training

Why did you choose to be an athletic trainer at a secondary school?

Courtney: "I have an array of experience as an athletic trainer in the seven short years since I became a Certified Athletic Trainerin 2011. I have experience at the NCAA Division I level and I have worked as a Civilian Contractor with the Army at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. I chose to take my experiences and move to the secondary school setting because high school students are the future of our country. Helping individual student athletes grow, both physically and mentally, is something I feel strongly that I can support and guide them throughout their journey."

What personal and professional fulfillment do you receive from being an athletic trainer at a secondary school?

Courtney: " I receive personal and professional fulfillment every time my athletes step onto the field. I choose to be at most practices and all home games. This allows me to build trust with the athletes and their parents or guardians. I am also immediately available when an acute injury occurs throughout the evaluation process, rehabilitation process, and the athletes returning to play. I enjoy taking care of people and helping them return to an activity they love. After I perform the required treatments on students, they are able to return to a sport that they love with a new appreciation for the sport, their body, and for many, their future lives. I love to make positive impacts on the lives of those around me. I enjoy being an advocate for the student athletes, the coaches, my school and the community."

What advice do you have for someone considering a career as a secondary school athletic trainer?

Courtney: "My advice for a young adult looking into this profession, specifically the secondary setting, is to learn where your passion lies. Take an introductory class that explores the profession and volunteer with an LAT to see what the job is like on a day-to-day basis. This can be the perfect profession for those that like a hands-on, connectional career with a medical focus."

How are parents of the student-athletes benefited by having a LAT managing their child’s health care?

Courney: "Not only does having a LAT taking care of their child provide on campus care for emergencies, it also saves the parent time and money. They don’t have to drive their child to appointments or pay for them. In the event of an emergency, whether on the field or elsewhere, a LAT is a great reference for injuries and advice."

Are you compensated by the school system in which you work, the clinic through which you work or perhaps a hybrid of the two?

Courtney: "In Cleveland County the athletic trainers are employed through the school district. Each of the four high schools have a full time Athletic Trainer who teaches a Sports Medicine Curriculum. This provides a glimpse of what athletic trainers do daily for students who are interested in manual therapy as a profession."