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Athletic training is a health care profession with roots in athletics and kinesiology that has evolved into a critical component of contemporary sports medicine. The aim of this article is to review the history and evolution of the athletic training profession, contextualize the current state of athletic training education and research, and address priorities and challenges that the athletic training profession must confront if it is to continue to thrive. Specific challenges include addressing health disparities in sports medicine, increasing the diversity of the athletic training profession, clearly delineating athletic training’s place in the health care arena, and increasing salaries and retention of athletic trainers in the profession.
Diakogeorgiou and Casa are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA; Diakogeorgiou is also with Athletic Training, and Casa, the Korey Stringer Inst., at the university. Ray is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Hope College, Holland, MI, USA. Brown is with Boston University, Boston, MA, USA. Hertel is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.