We had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Chambers, former Head Athletic Trainer at MSU-Mankato and founder of Guardian Athletics in Mankato, Minnesota, about all things athletic training. Jeff has over 35 years of experience in the athletic training industry and has been a valuable resource by providing athletic training event coverage on behalf of Optivus Physical Therapy.


What is athletic training?

“Athletic training is a healthcare profession that evaluates, recognizes, treats, and prevents injuries and illnesses to the active population. Athletic training has evolved over the years since organizing in 1960 and is a profession that was first only seen at college and professional levels. Now, athletic trainers practice in a variety of clinical settings including professional sports, college and universities, high schools, hospitals, physician clinics, physical therapy clinics, sports medicine clinics, and industrial settings.”


How can someone benefit from seeing an athletic trainer?

“An athletic trainer is educated and trained in the recognition, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of specific bone and joint injuries. Someone seeking treatment from an athletic trainer benefits from a thorough evaluation of their injury and educated recommendations for treatment and rehabilitation. This could be through continued athletic training or a referral to another allied health care professional like a physical therapist.”


Are athletic trainers and personal trainers the same?

No. Athletic trainers and personal trainers are in fact very different professions. Athletic trainers are allied health care professionals which must pass a nationally recognized certification exam and must be licensed to practice in their state. A personal trainer does not require certification and focuses on physical training and conditioning. They do not specialize in diagnosing or treating sports-related injuries.”


Tell us about your experience with athletic training.

I loved being an athletic trainer! I always aspired to work in an athletic environment that allowed me to have a positive effect on the lives of young athletes. I found great satisfaction in evaluating and treating injuries in players so that they could get back to the activities they loved. Athletic training has led me to what I do now which is preventing injuries in athletes before they even occur on a much larger scale. I am now able to do that through Guardian Athletics’ services and products. ”


What is one piece of information you’d like everyone to know about athletic training?

“Athletic trainers have a knowledge and skill above and beyond what most other health care professionals perceive, and they are often under-utilized in our health care system. Most athletic trainers are very passionate and caring about what they do and are most concerned with providing the best care they can for an individual experiencing an injury.”


Jeff Chambers – Founder of Guardian Athletics in Mankato, Minnesota.