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

When thinking about ethical issues in the real world, one example comes to mind. I have worked in a clinical setting as an athletic trainer for numerous years now. There was a situation that I witnessed in one of my previous clinics that I believed was a violation of the NATA Code of Ethics and would be a violation of any other professional code of ethics. A patient was progressing well through her rehabilitation with a shoulder injury; however, the main clinician continually encouraged that patient to return for treatment after she had recovered sufficiently to be discharged. It seemed that the clinician was having her do simple exercises for no good reason except that he was able to bill for additional sessions. In order to protect the patient and the clinic as a whole, I brought the situation to my supervisor so the issue could be resolved.

Jennifer H. Ross, AT, PTA

Commonwealth Orthopedic Centers

Edgewood, Kentucky


learning outcomes

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

  1. Describe the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Code of Ethics and identify violations.

  2. Describe the Board of Certification (BOC) Standards of Professional Practice and identify violations.

  3. Describe steps to take to avoid ethical violations.

  4. Identify possible consequences for ethical violations.


As an athletic trainer (AT), you are responsible for everything that is involved in the organization and administration of athletic training. Throughout this section, you will be presented with various scenarios pertaining to different aspects of the profession including ethics, risk management, legal aspects, professional development, and management. From the information given, you are to identify whether anything has been done wrong in the scenario and devise solutions to correct these issues or to handle a situation. These activities will help you fine-tune your professional skills, but be sure that you completely understand the issue at hand and any confounding factors that could affect your decisions. By implementing all the information you have learned in the classroom and then applying it to each scenario, you can determine a plan of action.


Julian Perry is an AT at a Division I university. He has been there approximately 5 years as the head AT for football. Because it is a Division I university, there is a lot of pressure on Mr. Perry to return injured players to play as fast as possible. Today at practice, the starting quarterback was running a play and inverted his ankle. Mr. Perry evaluates the injury immediately. He does not think that the athlete fractured anything or that he tore any ligaments. Knowing that they have a big game on ...

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