Meet Your Athletic Trainer
Ashley Leighton is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, a Board Certified and New Hampshire State Licensed Athletic Trainer. She has been at St. Thomas Aquinas since 2013 and has been involved in sports or emergency medicine since 2004. She started as an EMT with a volunteer fire department back in high school and spent nearly 10 years in emergency medicine.
Ashley Leighton, BS, NHLAT, ATC
What is an Athletic Trainer?
An Athletic Trainer, not to be mistaken by a Personal Trainer or Trainer, is an allied health professional. Athletic Trainers (AT's) work in many settings with many ages, however here at STA, the Athletic Trainer (AT) is the first medical professional to see all athletes, and sometimes non-athletes. The AT works with physicians to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate injuries and medical conditions. Jobs of the AT may include areas such as: taping up an ankle for stability, diagnosing a concussion, performing emergency action in life-threatening situations, or rehabbing a torn ACL (other listed below).
To become an Athletic Trainer, one must attend an accredited AT education college (minimum 4 year degree), pass the Board of Certification exam, and (in most states) become state licensed. AT's must maintain certification and licensure by always having a current CPR certification, and fulfilling a set amount of continuing education.
An AT has a unique advantage over other medical professionals because they spend much more time with the athletes day in and day out. In the high school setting, the AT is the first medical professional for all athletes, which means they see the athletes every day through their 4 years of school. No other medical professional has this ability to know their patients as well as an AT does.
Below is a list of duties AT's perform:
- Day-to-day safety of athletics/athletes (i.e. emergency action plans, equipment, weather conditions, etc.)
- Pre & Post-injury/surgical rehabilitation (strengthening, taping, bracing, casting, etc)
- concussion/head injury diagnosis, prevention, education, treatment, and rehabilitation
- diagnosis of injuries
- treatment of injuries and some medical conditions
- emergency action (i.e. CPR, etc)