For over 50 years, certified athletic trainers (ATCs) have been employed in traditional settings such as professional sports, universities, colleges, and high schools. As part of the evolution of this field, much like other health professions (e.g., nursing, physical therapy, chiropractic), ATCs are received as allied-health professionals and work alongside colleagues in physical therapy clinics, hospitals, corporate and industrial settings, and other "non-traditional" settings. The ATC is also considered a physician extender and works even more closely with the physician, helping the active population stay healthy. In all of these settings, ATCs are working with people who want to recover from injury or sickness as soon as possible. Because of this close working relationship, many patients are now asking questions about types of medications and how they work to aid in the recovery or healing of their illness or injury. In specific instances, the use of medications can be an integral part of the healing process. An ATC must now understand the many facets of pharmacology: how drugs work in the body, the indications and adverse effects that might affect rehabilitation or participation, the types of drugs that are typically abused, the availability of prescription and over-the-counter drugs (OTCs), the legal aspects of medicines, and emergency situations that involve medications. Although the ATC cannot be expected to know all of the implications of every medication on the market, it is important that ATCs know where to look for applicable drug information.
Having taught courses in pharmacology to athletic training students in approved athletic training curriculums for over 10 years and utilizing a variety of related text books, we wanted to provide a more direct approach for the athletic training student to learn about this topic. With the publication of the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) Educational Competencies, pharmacology has now become required course content area in the education of athletic trainers. We have striven to present the major areas of cognitive skills most likely to be used in professional practice. It was also important to get input and direction from a number of sources when writing this text. We have combined the efforts of university faculty, team physicians at both the university and the high school levels, and a practicing pharmacist to put together a text that provides the information an ATC needs to work knowledgeably in a chosen practice setting.
With pharmacology issues cropping up more frequently in the athletic training setting, especially medication protocols, it's important to understand that the ATC is not the person who prescribes medications to athletes, but is, in many instances, the person who answers the first line of questions from the athlete. Although ATCs cannot prescribe medications, they should always keep in mind the legal implications of drug use by people with whom they daily work. The laws concerning medications and the ATC's role vary from state to state. It is important for ATCs to fully investigate all the legal aspects of their profession in the state in which they practice. In most states, the ATC can legally "administer" medication to an athlete under the auspices of a physician, but it remains the responsibility of the ATC to ensure that the athlete is completely informed about the prescribed drug. The ATC is to educate the athlete and communicate with the physician regarding the medical needs of the individual.
This text is designed to discuss the overall pharmacological aspects of common medical conditions that athletic trainers may encounter in their careers. The information presented focuses on aspects relevant to the ATC. Many chapters provide scenarios and specific information that come from real-life situations experienced by ATCs practicing in a variety of settings. Since many certified athletic trainers have an excellent relationship with athletes in their care, we have included chapters on performance enhancements and social drugs to better educate the ATC on the adverse and possible long-term effects of such drugs. To assist educators in preparing their course materials, we have developed an Instructor's Guide and Test Bank to accompany this text. These ancillaries are provided on CD-ROM and are made available to educators who adopt our book.
Pharmacology will continue to change as new drugs are developed and our knowledge about how drugs work increases. We fully recognize that no textbook can totally keep pace with so dynamic a field, but we attempted to provide as up-to-date information as possible. We welcome any suggestions or ideas to improve this work in future additions. Please feel free to contact us with your suggestions through F.A. Davis Publishers or directly.
Brent C. Mangus, EdD, ATC
Michael G. Miller, EdD, ATC, CSCS