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Integrating athletic training and public health at OSU summit


While individual injury and illness prevention has been a hallmark of the work of athletic trainers, many of the most pressing problems facing physically active children and adults require population-level approaches to maximize the effectiveness of prevention initiatives.

In an effort to bridge athletic training and public health, the Athletic Training and Public Health Summit highlighted issues important to athletic trainers and introduced how a population approach has, or could be, used to promote preventive practices at the population level.


“Athletic trainers are well-positioned in many of these problem areas to take leading roles in injury and illness prevention, but they may be unfamiliar with how to successfully incorporate policy development, policy assessment and large-scale translation to practice initiatives into their work to facilitate maximal impact,” says College of Public Health and Human Sciences Assistant Professor Marc Norcross, who served on the summit’s organizational committee.

The summit was organized into three sections discussing topics of sudden cardiac death in athletes, sports-related concussion and osteoarthritis, with a focus on approach to policy and guideline development, policy and program evaluation and translation to practice.

More than 30 leading experts in athletic training, sports medicine and public health attended the event, which featured nationally and internationally known speakers.

The group participated in networking events and a formal discussion on next steps and set an agenda for future work at the intersection of athletic training and public health.


“As athletic trainers, our work is typically focused on the individual patient,” says CPHHS Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Johnson. “This often makes it difficult to see how what we do fits into the bigger picture of public health. The summit allowed me to interact with, and to hear ideas of what researchers and clinicians are doing to integrate athletic training and public health. It was obvious that so much of athletic training is public health.”

Summit sponsors included the CPHHS, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, and the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention.

“OSU has a long history of having a leading Athletic Training Program – which has been continuously accredited for more than 40 years,” Sam says. “Dean Bray has always supported the accredited Athletic Training Program and believed that OSU was the natural fit to host the summit due its history in education and research in both athletic training and public health. Additionally, athletic training faculty have been collaborating with public health faculty on how to improve population health by focusing on increasing the implementation of best practices and injury prevention programs in the community.”

Members of the local organizing committee include:
Viktor Bovbjerg, CPHHS Associate Professor
Kim Hannigan, CPHHS Clinical Associate Professor
Mark Hoffman, OSU Vice Provost for International Programs
Sam Johnson, CPHHS Clinical Assistant Professor
Marc Norcross, CPHHS Assistant Professor

Programming consultants include:
Jennifer Hootman, PhD, ATC, FNATA – Centers for Disease Control
Kristen Kucera, PhD, MSPH, ATC, LAT – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill