In recent years, international interest in the clinical procedures utilized by athletic trainers and therapists in North America for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries and overuse syndromes has dramatically increased. In many countries, some portion of the professional role of the athletic trainer or therapist is assumed by a physician, a physiotherapist, or a coach. The value of having a person who possesses the specialized knowledge and skills to optimize the health status of a team of competitive athletes is becoming increasingly apparent to sports organizations around the world. Athletic trainers in the United States and athletic therapists in Canada have a great deal of expertise that can tremendously benefit the clinicians who care for athletes in other countries. Furthermore, the observations of sports medicine practitioners and researchers from around the world can provide unique perspectives that may challenge conventional North American clinical practices and lead to innovation in our approaches to the management of some sports-related conditions. To emphasize the role that Athletic Therapy Today (ATT) has historically fulfilled in promoting the interests of athletic trainers in the United States and athletic therapists in Canada, and to convey a mission to achieve global exchange of useful clinical knowledge, a new title--International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training (ATT)--is introduced with this issue.
This journal will continue to focus on publication of “evidence-based” content that has strong relevance to clinical practices for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries and discussion of professional issues that are important to athletic trainers and therapists. The Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine defines the practice of evidence-based medicine as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients” (www.cebm.net). Although the highest quality of evidence is derived from randomized clinical trials, there is an important distinction that should be recognized between the efficacy of a given clinical procedure and its effectiveness. Efficacy pertains to the level of benefit documented in a clearly defined population of subjects from a treatment that is applied under ideal conditions, whereas effectiveness pertains to the level of benefit realized by typical patients from a treatment that is provided in customary practice setting. RCTs that establish treatment efficacy certainly have relevance to clinical practice, but any systematic approach that documents treatment effectiveness can provide valuable evidence that is needed to make good clinical decisions.
As ATT has done for the past 15 years, we will continue to prioritize publication of content that clinicians find useful to manage the challenges in daily practice. Prospective authors who develop manuscripts that review a topic of interest to clinicians are encouraged to cite research findings that support and/or refute recommended or widely-accepted clinical procedures. Research reports that have strong relevance to clinical practice will be considered for publication, particularly those that provide evidence of treatment effectiveness. Much more clinician involvement in the systematic documentation of patient perception of treatment effectiveness is needed to promote the delivery of care that is both evidence based and patient centered.
Globalization of the professional role of athletic trainers and therapists has been gradually occurring over the past decade, and it now appears to be on the verge of rapid expansion. The new name of this journal has been adopted to promote international exchange of knowledge that clinicians will be able to readily utilize in the effort to solve of the wide variety of problems presented by patients who are physically active. The extent to which this mission is fulfilled largely depends on the willingness of clinicians, educators, and researchers to devote the time and effort necessary to effectively convey information in a manuscript. The ATT Editorial Board is strongly committed to our mission, and we welcome the opportunity to help prospective authors in the process of developing high-quality manuscript content. A new alternative to manuscript submission is information sharing on www.att-journal.com, which we hope will be utilized as a mechanism to provide worldwide access to protocols, outlines, diagrams, video clips, forms, website links, etc. We encourage all clinicians who possess expertise that relates to the prevention and management of sports-related conditions to contribute information that will advance the practice of athletic training and therapy throughout the world.