For many patients at Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, an appointment with a physician also involves being seen by a certified athletic trainer.
Jessica Kutz says the practice can be confusing to some patients. But don’t worry – she’s prepared to answer your questions.
“We’re used to explaining what an athletic trainer is to people who aren’t familiar or weren’t involved with sports,” says Kutz.
When the word “trainer” is in your title, there are bound to be a few misconceptions, says Kutz, who clarifies athletic trainers are different from personal trainers or strength coaches. Below, she helps break down the role of athletic trainers and the benefits of having one on your care team, athlete or not.
The Benefits of Having Athletic Trainers in an Orthopedic Practice
Athletic trainers are licensed healthcare professionals with a wide range of skills and training in sports medicine and orthopedics. While invaluable on an athletic field, they’re also an asset to an orthopedic practice. Athletic trainers can assist physicians with diagnosing, treating and managing musculoskeletal injuries.
“Our training enables us to help with injury prevention and treatments, as well as emergency triage, where we’re essentially a first responder who goes running out on the field to care for an injured athlete,” says Kutz. “We’re also knowledgeable about rehabilitation.”
Kutz’s own patient history influenced her decision to become an athletic trainer. She first discovered her passion for the profession while a patient at Forté, then known as Methodist Sports Medicine.
“When I was a senior in high school, I suffered a season-ending elbow injury that also spelled the end of my softball career,” says Kutz. “I was referred to Forté where I felt cared for as an athlete but also as a person going through a heartbreaking situation.”
“At the time, I was debating what I wanted to do in school,” she adds. “I realized that sports medicine would allow me to stay involved with sports and also help take care of people and get them back to where they wanted to be.”
The Clinical Roles and Responsibilities of Athletic Trainers
After graduating from college, Kutz fulfilled her dream to return to Forté as part of its athletic training staff. She and her colleagues have many clinical roles and responsibilities, such as:
Some athletic trainers complete additional training to assist physicians in the operating room, while others develop a specialty. For example, Kutz enrolled in phlebotomy school when Forté expanded its services to include platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections.
“Having this training means we don’t have to ask patients to take the extra step of going to a lab to get a blood draw,” says Kutz. “We can do it in-house, which makes it easier for the patient.”
At Forté, “We Truly Work as a Team”
Forté’s focus on integrated care offers convenience for patients and leads to improved outcomes – whether your goal is to get back to everyday activities or return to the field.
“You not only have a great physician who’s making the diagnosis but also someone who understands your training routine,” says Kutz. “As athletic trainers, we have the knowledge and expertise to say you’re not going to be able to do something at practice, so let’s talk to your team’s athletic trainer about doing X, Y and Z. We’re trained to see the big picture.”
In many ways, Kutz says the reality of working at Forté is better than anything she could have dreamed of when she first decided to pursue her athletic training career.
“Many orthopedic practices have an athletic trainer or a medical assistant working alongside physicians, but what’s so unique about Forté, besides the fact that our physicians are so renowned throughout the region, is the level of trust and communication,” says Kutz. “We truly work as a team.”
To learn more about Forté’s athletic training staff and how they work alongside our sports medicine and orthopedic physicians, visit our page dedicated to outreach services.