Athletic Training

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Athletic Trainer?

An athletic trainer is a certified, health care professional who practices in the field of medical athletic training. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since1990. The athletic trainer is often referred to as the ATC (Athletic Trainer, Certified). All ATC’s practicing in Virginia are licensed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Medicine.

What does an Athletic Trainer do?

Athletic trainers collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and participation of patients and clients. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of emergency, acute and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations and disabilities. At Wakefield HS, the athletic trainer is responsible for all student athletes. Students will turn in their VHSL physicals and additional paperwork to the athletic trainer to determine physical eligibility in Wakefield athletics prior to trying out for teams.

What doesn’t an Athletic Trainer do?

An athletic trainer is not a personal trainer or a coach: their main purpose is not to teach people how to lift weights or get in shape, or to run practice. Although strength and conditioning is part of their knowledge set, it is not their primary responsibility.

What forms are required for participating in Wakefield Athletics?

There are 3 different forms that make up the Wakefield “physical packet” that are required for trying out for a sport. DOWNLOAD THE FORMS

  • Doc 1: VHSL Parent Consent/Physical Examination Form (Page 3: REQUIRES DR. SIGNATURE!!)
  • Doc 2: Arlington’s Athletic Acknowledgement and Assumption Form
  • Doc 3: (for HB Woodlawn Students and Parents ONLY)

What is the earliest date that a physical can be completed for the next school year?

Any physical completed AFTER May 1 of the previous school year is acceptable for sports participation in the following school year (i.e. an 8th grader has a physical on May 15th, 2015 and would like to swim in 9th grade). If completed prior to May 1st, 2016, the physical is not valid per VHSL rules (i.e. an 8th grader has a physical exam done on March 16th for middle school soccer- they may not use the same physical during the 9th grade year).

Can my child participate without insurance?

NO! Every child must have medical/accident insurance in order to try out for sports. Check with the school system to see if your family is eligible for assistance. Otherwise, accident insurance can be purchased through QBE Student Insurance – we recommend at least purchasing the basic option.

What if my insurance only covers one physical a year?

Many insurance companies may only cover 1 physical per calendar year. It may be necessary to go to a doctor that does sports physicals for cash for a reduced rate (ranging $30-$75). The VHSL requires that all physicals be completed AFTER May 1 of the previous school year in order to participate in athletics that year.

What if my doctor says my physical is still valid?

Some doctor offices will say that a physical is valid for the whole year. If the physical was completed in November, the athlete will need a new physical between May and August in order to try out for a fall sport. It may be necessary to go to a doctor that does sports physicals for cash for a reduced rate (ranging$30-$75).

What if the physical packet is incomplete?

If a child brings a physical packet to turn in to the ATC and all of the forms are not signed, the ATC cannot accept the packet. All forms need to be signed and filled out by parents where indicated. If there are missing signatures, the child must take the packet back and get it signed by parent or guardian before being allowed to try out for sports: there will be no “verbal permissions” granted.

Is there a specific form the doctor has to fill out?

YES!! The doctor must fill out Part III, Physical Examination page. If the physical is on a different form, it will be necessary to have the doctor fill out the correct form. Athletes may not tryout with the physical on the incorrect form.

Can I tell my child to sign my name?

We recognize that there are many areas to be signed, and even if one signature is missing, it is an incomplete form. The child may fax the form to the parent to be signed. If a child forges the parent or doctor’s signature (even with parent or doctor’s permission), and they are caught, they will not be allowed to participate in any VHSL activities until 1 year after the problem.

What happens if I take my child to the doctor?

One of the roles of the ATC is to evaluate injuries. If the ATC evaluates an injury and deems it necessary for the athlete to see a doctor, the athlete will not be allowed to resume tryouts, practice, or competition until they have been cleared by a licensed medical doctor.

If a parent decides to take their child to the doctor because of pain or injury (not required by the ATC), the child will not be allowed to participate in tryouts, practice, or competition until they have brought a note from the doctor that clears them for full participation in their sport. If it is found that a parent has taken a child to the doctor and no note was received, the child will be pulled from practice or a game until the proper documentation has been received.

If the doctor does not include a return date on the return to play note, it will be up to the discretion of the ATC if the child is ready to participate, and how much they will be allowed to participate.

If the doctor includes a return date on the return to play note, the ATC has the responsibility to determine if the child is ready to return to full participation. The ATC has the final word about return to play after an injury.

Every athlete held out of practice for an injury MUST participate in a day of practice prior to returning to a competition. If a doctor does not clear a child until the afternoon, and they have a game that night, they will not be allowed to play in the game.

What should I do if my child comes home from practice with an injury?

The ATC has set hours that they are available to the athletes (often 3 pm-5 pm, subject to change) in the athletic training room (room 23). If an injury occurs after the athletic trainer has left for the day, there is always ice outside the training room door. If you have additional questions, e-mail the ATC at or call 703-228-6722.

See above for information on what to do if you take your child to the doctor.

Who is our team physician?

Wakefield’s team physician is Dr. Robert Najarian, an orthopaedic surgeon with the Inova Medical Group –Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. There are 2 offices, one in the Ballston area of Arlington, 571-414-6940, and one in Annandale, 703-205-2626. Dr. Najarian has been our esteemed physician since May 2013.