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Out there in the real world, one athletic trainer experienced the following:

When working with high school athletes, you never know what you may encounter. I usually sit between the soccer benches to be more accessible to both teams during the game. During one of these games, I watched one of my female players ask to come off the field. I didn't notice any symptoms or injury that would require her to leave the game, so I attributed it to a need for a water break. A minute into her break, I looked over at our team bench to find her using a fellow teammate's inhaler. I quickly approached her and informed her that she should never use a prescription that is not meant for her. The athlete proceeded to tell me that she was slightly short of breath, and that her fellow teammate recommended trying her inhaler to help improve her own breathing. I informed the athlete of the dangers associated with using someone else's prescription. A prescription is intended for the patient only, based on his or her individual symptoms. I asked the athlete to take notice of the current weather conditions, which included 70% humidity. I explained that the dense air could contribute to her shortness of breath symptoms. After the game, I spoke with the entire team about the proper use of individual prescriptions.

Melissa Noble, AT, ATC

Wilson Memorial Hospital

Sidney, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and procedures for dispensing, administering (when appropriate), and documenting commonly used prescription and nonprescription medications.

  2. Describe the common routes used to administer medications and the advantages and disadvantages for each.

  3. Properly instruct patients in the use of medications, including interactions and side effects, and the proper use of metered-dose medications.

  4. Describe how pharmacological agents influence pain and healing.


Cassidy Ward is a freshman in college who does not participate in sports; however, she has recently joined the campus health club. She has a 2-hour block between classes and is able to exercise and shower before going back to class. Two weeks into her workout regimen, Ms. Ward notices that the plantar sides of her feet are dry and scaly. She attributes it to her eczema and puts extra lotion on the affected area. After another week, the symptoms do not go away, and now the plantar sides of her feet are red, dry, itchy, and scaly. The symptoms have also migrated between her toes (Fig. 19-1). Cassidy Ward is diagnosed with tinea pedis, also called athlete's foot.

Figure 19-1:

Cassidy Ward's skin condition. (© Thinkstock)

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