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NATA Creates Database to Assist Coronavirus Response

Paul Steinbach

The National Athletic Trainers' Association has put together an app aimed at providing understaffed hospitals with a database to look for help nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Associated Press, more than 950 athletic trainers signed up last week.

As director of athletic training in Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, Christina Eyers oversees about 40 trainers who have been "very eager" to assist in screening patients, which typically means checking for symptoms and taking their temperatures. Some have helped in shipping prescriptions, the AP reported.

“With the surge of patients we’re seeing, we’re taking an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Robert Albers, a senior sports medicine physician at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital who often works with trainers. “I don’t think it matters what avenue you’re normally in. You have to be ready to help out and step up. I really admire everything our athletic trainers have done.’’

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who are licensed or otherwise regulated to work with athletes and physically active people to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and other emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions. They’re different from personal trainers, who focus primarily on fitness.

“With the skill set that athletic trainers have, the types of needs that our communities have now and the types of needs that hospital systems and pop-up clinics have, the athletic trainer skill set is perfectly suited for,” said NATA president Tory Lindley, who also is Northwestern University’s senior associate athletic director for health, safety and performance.

Not all athletic trainers work with athletes. Others work in a variety of different fields that include public safety, the performing arts, rehabilitation centers, corporations and the military.

Lindley said about half his organization’s members work in an athletics environment. “That’s also the portion of our membership which find themselves separated from their patient population right now,” Lindley said, “so some are looking for things and opportunities like this, where the skill sets match up.’’

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