In the face of a national shortage of physical therapists, there is a growing trend toward employing certified athletic trainers (ATCs) in physical therapy clinics. This study surveyed physical therapists in California and Oregon about the duties they felt an ATC could perform and the type of patients they should see. The majority of the respondents indicated that ATCs could treat competitive (65.5%) and recreational (55.2%) athletes, while 20.7% indicated that they should not treat any physical therapy patients. A small minority of respondents indicated that ATCs could perform program planning duties, while a large majority indicated that they could perform program implementation duties. Only 10.4% indicated that ATCs could perform manual therapy treatments. The most commonly cited area of concern was the inadequacy of the ATCs education to prepare them to treat the diverse physical therapy patient load.
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