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It is apparent that certified athletic trainers are limited in their use of therapeutic modalities by some state practice acts. I am aware of some situations in which the athletic trainer is only permitted to prepare the patient for treatment (eg, apply electrodes, prepare an area for ultrasound treatment), but the physical therapist must physically turn on the machine and perform the treatment. In other states, the certified athletic trainer (ATC) who works in a clinic setting is considered to be on the same level as a physical therapist assistant or aide, and as such, might be limited in modality use. As a researcher of therapeutic modalities for more than a decade, it troubles me that the hands of ATCs are tied with respect to modality use.
My purpose in writing this editorial is to inform the public that ATCs are skilled in the use of therapeutic modalities. I will provide both entry-level and continuing education examples.
Editor's Note: David O. Draper, EdD, ATC, is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Athletic Training and a Professor of Athletic Training at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.