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Athletic Training

What is a certified athletic trainer?

Certified athletic trainers are student-athletes’ link between a school’s athletic program and the medical community. They specialize in:

  • Preventing injuries
  • Evaluating injuries
  • Providing emergency care
  • Providing therapeutic treatment
  • Rehabilitating acute and chronic injuries

Certified athletic trainers are experts in caring for simple to serious sports injuries and illness, ranging from heat illness and broken bones, to cardiac events, and brain and spinal cord injuries that can be life-threating if not managed correctly.

When to see a certified athletic trainer

Certified athletic trainers help athletes with:

  • Injuries to muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves and bones
  • Suspected or diagnosed concussion

On-call certified athletic training services

An athletic trainer can help you manage the injury and determine whether an in-person free screening is necessary. If a student-athlete has sustained an athletic injury and needs to reach an athletic trainer, call 319-768-4152 during these times:

  • 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Noon and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

When to seek help from an urgent care clinic or the emergency department

Student-athletes who have chest pain, difficulty breathing or severe bleeding, should go to the nearest emergency department.

Orthopedics-Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center in Fort Madison and West Burlington is open for appointments Monday through Friday. After clinic hours, a certified athletic trainer may direct athletes with possible fractures or dislocation to one of Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center’s three urgent care clinics, which are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


What you need to know about concussion

Certified athletic trainers have an important role in recognizing, assessing and managing concussions, including critical return-to-play education and decisions.


A concussion is trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. It can result from:

  • A direct blow to the head, face or neck
  • A blow to another area of the body in which the force is transmitted to the head

Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. But in some cases. symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours.

All student-athletes must follow and complete the return-to-play protocol before being cleared for participation, according to the Iowa Concussion Law.

Baseline testing

A baseline test assesses and an athlete's balance and brain function.

On-field evaluation

Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be removed from participation immediately. After first aid is addressed, if necessary, a certified athletic trainer will conduct an assessment and compare it to the baseline test. A player with concussion-like symptoms should not be allowed to return to play on the day of the injury.

Clinical evaluation

The athlete should be reassessed by the certified athletic trainer at Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center 24 to 72 hours after the injury. The certified athletic trainer will provider instructions for follow-up care.

Returning to play

The certified athletic trainer will provide guidelines for returning to play gradually.