Degree, Certification, and License

By: Kate Bartlett, MS, ATC, VATL

There are hundreds of different types of healthcare jobs, from physicians to X-ray technicians, from athletic trainers and physical therapists to art therapists and home health care aides. In the US, healthcare makes up 18% of the economy and provides millions of jobs.  Roughly 60% of healthcare jobs are in allied health. Allied health professionals provided services and support to keep the healthcare wheel turning. They included therapists, technicians, and assistants as well as medical interpreters and coders. Allied health professions are expected to grow in the next 5-10 years. Since allied health is such a broad category, the education varies from 1-2 years for emergency medical technician (EMTs) to 6-8 years for anesthesiologist assistants. The requirements to be an allied health professional are also different based on the specific occupation and where you live.

When you see an allied health professional, how do you know who you are seeing and what they know? Do your research! Explore Health Careers is a great website with basic information on hundreds of careers. It also has resources for each one, so you can see the professional organizations, schools, or other information. This is also a great resource for high school students and others looking for a career. Once you are familiar with a specific allied health profession, you can look more closely at your provider to see if they have the appropriate degree, certification, and license.





Look at the letters after the provider’s last name. These are called credentials and can indicate degree, certification, or license. For example after my name, I list MS for a master’s degree in science, then ATC for a nationally certified athletic trainer and VATL for a licensed athletic trainer in Virginia. Some common credentials in sports medicine that you might see are CSCS, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and PES, Performance Enhancing Specialist. Athletic trainers also work with Physical Therapists (DPT) and Physical Therapist Assistants (LPTA). There are countless credentials in the world. They are easy to look up online or ask the professional and they can give you information about their background and about the credential. In addition, you can verify if a person is certified and/or licensed online. Go here for professionals in Virginia.

Regulations are widely varied with allied health profession. In general, to be an allied health professional, you must complete an accredited program, pass a national certification exam, and be state licensed. Many occupations also require clinical hours to be completed either separately or as part of the accredited education program. It is important to note that not all careers have these requirements and they change from state to state. Some people can also avoid the requirements by listing a different job title. A “masseuse” is different from a “massage therapist”. Also some credentials may have been obtained from a weekend course and not from an accredited education program. Ask the provider about their background and education.

The same tips can also be applied to other careers outside of healthcare, such as real estate agents, contractors, and cosmetologists. Large organizations are thorough in their hiring practices and will know what the state regulations are. Smaller organizations and private companies do not have as many resources readily available and may not be as thorough. The bottom line is to ask questions and do your own research.

Posted in Allied Health, General, Healthcare | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trauma On The Field

KidStuff Summer 2015Congratulations to Brooke Wilson, one of our star sports medicine patients, for her cover story in the CHKD Kidstuff magazine.  Click here to read about her journey to get back on the field.

Posted in Athlete, General, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Athlete’s Mentality After Injury

By: Kellie Gilmartin, MSEd, ATC

You have worked hard to make yourself the most competitive athlete that you can possibly be. You’ve put in the time during conditioning, weight room, and preseason practices. You finally accomplished your goal of winning that starting position in your team line up. Then it happens, the dreaded injury that has now sidelined you as you watch your teammates continue on with the season.

Athlete Depression Locker RoomInjuries not only have a physical impact on your body but they also have a mental impact. Many athletes do not realize how big of a mental impact an injury has until it happens to them. Some of these psychological or emotional responses can be mild but some can be severe and trigger an underlying mental health issue. Some of the common ones are sadness, denial, lack of motivation, sleep disturbances, irritability, mood swings, guilt, and depression.  The psychological aspect of the injury needs to be taken in for consideration throughout the rehabilitation process and during the athletes return to sport.

Athlete in PTThe athlete needs to build a support system to help them through this time. These people include the athlete’s parents/family, coaches, teammates, and the medical team taking care of them. If the athlete’s mental state is affecting the rehabilitation of their injury or everyday living it needs to be addressed immediately so that they can have a full recovery from their injury.

Some ways to ease this psychological aspect are as follows:

Understanding your Injury. Ask questions, understand the extent of the injury, understand the rehabilitation process, and the expected return to play time table.

Accept the injury happened and take responsibility. By doing this you can stop feeling guilt and putting blame. Take control of your recovery and rehabilitation.

Positive Attitude. A positive attitude can ease the recovery process significantly. Your mind can have a huge impact on how quickly you recover. If you remain positive and follow your rehabilitation plan, your recovery process will be much easier.

Set Reasonable Goals. Set goals that are achievable within a reasonable time frame for your injury. Accept that this will take time and set smaller goals to get you to the big one of returning back to your team.

Relaxation Techniques. Injuries and their rehabilitation can be very overwhelming. Techniques such as breathing exercise, imagery, and other relaxation techniques can help clear your mind and prepare you for the road to recovery.

Taking care of the athlete’s mental state can have a major impact on the athlete’s recovery from injury. If not addressed it can have a detrimental impact on the athlete and make the road to recovery a very bumpy one.


Quinn, Elizabeth, Coping with the Emotional Stress of a Sports Injury

Psychological Issues Related to Injury in Athletes and the Team Physician: A Consensus Statement

Posted in Athlete, General, Sports Performance | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes

By: LaChelle Graziano, LPTA

Overuse injuries are a result of repetitive micro-trauma without a single responsible event. These injuries occur in a wide range of sports including baseball, basketball, track, soccer, and gymnastics. In recent years, more children are participating in organized and recreational athletics resulting in a significant increase in overuse injuries found in children. Because young athletes are still growing they may be at a greater risk for injury and the consequences of these injuries can impair growth and lead to long term health problems.

What is an overuse injury?  

Baseball OveruseAn overuse injury is often described as damage to a bone, muscle, ligament and/or tendon due to repetitive stress without allowing enough time for the body to heal. In children, these structures are still growing with growth typically being uneven. Bones grow first, in turn, pulling on tight muscles and tendons making the body less resilient to stress.

There are 4 defined stages of overuse injuries:

  1. Pain in the affected area after physical activity
  2. Pain during activity with minimal to no restrictions in performance
  3. Pain during and after activity with significant restrictions in performance
  4. Chronic, persistent pain even at rest that cause restrictions with all daily activities.

Coaches and parents should also be aware of the more common signs of overuse injuries which include:

  • Pain that cannot be tied to any specific injury/incident
  • Pain increasing with activity
  • Swelling
  • Changes in form and/or technique
  • Decreased interest in participation

Treatment and Prevention

Soccer OveruseInitially, to treat pain and potential swelling, it is best to use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevate.) This will help the ligaments and/or tendons recover from injury. If pain persists, and if a parent, coach and/or athlete suspects injury, it is best to be assessed by a healthcare professional. A sports medicine physician, physical therapist, and/or athletic trainer with specific knowledge of your sport or activity will be able to create a more detailed plan of care specific to your injury, which may include physical therapy and athletic training services.

Basketball OveruseMost overuse injuries can be prevented with proper training and teaching children to listen to their bodies.  Also, avoid “overdoing” any single sport and give the child’s growing body time to rest in between practices and games.  Focus on overall wellness and remember, “no pain, no gain” does not always apply when participating in high level activity and sports. And most importantly, remember to keep fun and enjoyment the priority in youth sports.

Posted in Athlete, General, Injury Prevention | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilates Program: 6-Week Program for Athletes

Pilates Program SeptemberFor young athletes, a well-rounded strength and conditioning program can improve sports performance and reduce the risk of injury.  The benefits of Pilates include improved posture, relaxation and stress management, injury prevention, increased core strength, increased body awareness, and improved recovery after injury. At CHKD, we know that cross-training and exposing children to various types of training can lead to lifelong changes.

Register at

Posted in Athlete, Fitness, General, Injury Prevention, Pilates, Sports Performance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment