Indiana State University Newsroom

Athletic training grad students mount social media campaign to promote profession

April 1, 2014

Indiana State University graduate students in athletic training are working with faculty to raise awareness about political issues in their field through a social media campaign called Athletic Trainers 4 Athletic Trainers.

"In class we talked primarily about the history of political action in athletic training, and the fight to become recognized as a mid-level healthcare provider," said Kenneth Games, assistant professor of applied medicine and rehabilitation.

For the second half of the graduate-level class, Lindsey Eberman, associate professor of applied medicine and rehabilitation, and the class decided to start an advocacy project as the best route to apply what they had discussed.

"Each student is writing a blog post five-days a week, and we have a Facebook account and a Twitter account that are all promoting the project," Eberman said.

The effort has amassed more than 1,000 Facebook "likes" in its first two weeks, Eberman noted.

"We get retweeted by our professional organization every day," she said.

Students have a different subject they are passionate about, Eberman said. One subject students touched on is National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers, a number all medical professionals who want to bill for clinical services have.

"It isn't required for athletic trainers who aren't in the clinical setting," said Beth Neil, a student from Erie, Pa. who worked with Justin Police of Angola, an athletic training graduate student on this subject.

"It would be a good thing for athletic trainers to have to someday use third party reimbursements and be able to bill through insurance for our services. Nearly 100 percent of other disciplines have an NPI number."

Only about 52 percent of athletic trainers have NPI numbers, Police said.

"There are no regulations by the state in California and Alaska," said Michael Neal of Fremont, Calif. "I'm passionate about getting people involved and talking to their assembly members. It is important to have licensure in order to be recognized and to protect the patient."

The overarching goal is to get people involved in the politics of athletic training, Eberman said. Zachary Winkelmann of Houston, who decided to focus his social outreach about getting involved.

The National Athletic Trainers Association Political Action Committee accepts donations from members and, in return, provides email updates about different political events as well as bills going through the Senate and House, Winkelmann said.

He said he wanted to raise awareness on how to get involved so people "won't sit back and complain about things they want to see done," but instead will take action on a national level.

Currently, NATAPAC is working on two bills, Eberman said. They aim to create the student athlete bill of rights, which includes protection for youth athletes by providing athletic trainers at high school and secondary school events.

Gender in athletic training is a topic of interest to Emilie Miley of Lafayette. She said the majority of professional athletic trainers are men in both men and women sports.

"I want to get more females into athletic training," Miley said.

Eberman said more than 50 percent of athletic trainers are women, but fewer than 1 percent of athletic trainers working in professional sports are women.

Games said advocacy for athletic trainers is very important for Indiana State because it was one of the first five athletic training programs in the country.

"Since 1969, Indiana State athletic training has been a leader in the profession," he said. "Anyone who is a decision maker in athletic training is either alum of Indiana State, a former faculty member of Indiana State - they were somehow involved with Indiana State."

He emphasized to the class the importance of joining a long line of leaders.

"It is now bestowed upon the students to continue the advocacy and to lead the profession," Games said.

Photo: - Lindsey Eberman (second from right), associate professor of applied medicine and rehabilitation at Indiana State University, review social media marketing efforts with athletic training graduate students (from left) Denny Wongosari, Beth Neil and Zachary Winkelmann. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Lindsey Eberman, associate professor of applied medicine and rehabilitation, College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-7694 or

Writer: Dustyn Fatheree, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or