By Diana Burns, MS, ATC, CEES, CEIS, CWcHP

ATI Worksite Solutions (AWS) has been making a significant impact in the industrial health setting. AWS currently employs approximately 160 athletic trainers as certified early intervention specialists (CEISs) who work in physically demanding settings in distribution, manufacturing, and production. Because an athletic trainer is able to deliver a proactive approach to healthcare, their knowledge of the root cause of injuries is what makes them so valuable on the floor. Instead of the focus being on the treatment of injuries, the industrial athletic trainer focuses on injury prevention to keep their industrial athletes performing at top levels. This shift in paradigm from the reactive model of injury management to the proactive model of a prevention based program is what corporate America needs to reduce healthcare costs. The proactive program by AWS has demonstrated a significant reduction in OSHA recordables, lost work time, and claim costs.

For athletic trainers in this setting, it is not uncommon to walk 5-6 miles each day. They work in the trenches and spend 90% of their time side by side with the team members at our client sites. Their focus is to make sure that these workers are using correct body mechanics and following the site’s safety practices while performing their daily tasks. Through the roar of heavy duty manufacturing equipment, the pace of an assembly line, or extreme weather conditions, CEISs are focused on preventing the injuries that sideline employees.

Strong bonds develop between the athletic trainer, employees, and the client sites they serve. There is a large amount of team work that develops between the athletic trainer, industrial athlete, and on-site professionals ranging from human resources, environmental health and safety, safety, supervisors, and senior management. The industrial athletic trainer becomes involved in strategic planning and metrics, reporting, ergonomics, and wellness initiatives which also positively impacts the overall safety of the industrial athlete. It is a challenging and rewarding career path for the athletic trainer.