At our NATA BOD meeting in late January, the Nomenclature Workgroup presented their recommendations to the Board. Of most interest to our members, the Workgroup did not recommend changing our name. For most, this is a relief, but for some this is a disappointment. Having served on this workgroup, I can say that I am proud of the work this group did: an exhaustive, comprehensive look at this issue from the past and present, a survey of all constituents inside and outside of the profession. We asked everyone for their opinion, and carefully considered every answer. 47% of our members were opposed, 29% were in favor, and 24% were undecided. This was an extremely emotional issue for every athletic trainer, with passionate arguments expressed on both sides of the discussion. Once all of the information was gathered, it was clear that changing our name was not the best option for us, for a number of reasons.
While the issue is now resolved, we cannot dismiss the 29% who favored a name change or the 24% who were undecided. Many of the undecided stated that they actually favored a name change, but couldn’t identify a name that would be better for us. Even though the decision has been made, we must not dismiss the members’ concerns about our name. Every member’s opinion matters. Many members, both for and against a name change, expressed concerns throughout the survey about issues related to our name, and those will now be addressed.
The workgroup has proposed several strategies to assist with this which include:
- A new NATA logo is needed to remove the ambiguity of our current fitness-oriented logo
- Implementing use of “AT” instead of “athletic trainer”. This will be shorter and more memorable and de-emphasize the word “trainer”
- New ways of describing and reintroducing ourselves to other professions, including revisiting and clarifying the definition of athletic training.
- More advocacy research to help prove the value and return on investment of ATs. This will assist with both employment and reimbursement, through achieving access to Medicare.
- Advanced certificates to provide more educational opportunities and assist with gaining employment
A new logo and brand has already been developed and will be revealed at our Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Plan to attend!
So as we move forward with this decision and these strategies, it is worth noting that every AT is reponsible for positively promoting our profession. What you do every day tells the world who and what we are. I am proud to be an AT, a healthcare professional. I am proud to promote our profession, but we need every AT to be an advocate.
District VI Director