Athletic Trainers Fill a Necessary Niche in Secondary Schools

Contacts:  Robin Waxenberg 
212-489-8006
robin@robwax.com
Ellen Satlof, NATA
214-637-6282, ext. 159
ellen@nata.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Athletic Trainers Fill a Necessary Niche in Secondary Schools
Offering immediate, quality health care services on and off the playing field, athletic trainers give students, faculty and parents peace of mind

 

DALLAS, TEXAS, March 12, 2009 – When an athlete goes down on the playing field, the athletic trainer is the first responder to prevent or treat an injury; yet only 42 percent of high schools have access to athletic trainers today. With the proliferation of school sports, and increasing student athletic participation, the importance of proper on-site health care has never been greater. Immediate care can reduce the onset of short- and long-term quality of life and financial consequences from injuries including concussion and heat illness among many other conditions. Parents should ask “who is taking care of my kids?” The answer should be the athletic trainer, a vital part of a school’s sports safety and health program.

In these challenging economic times, the importance of student sports safety and the cost associated with on-site athletic trainers remains critical. Athletic trainers can assess an injury to determine proper referral and eliminate unnecessary emergency room and physician visits which can be costly to the parents. Today high schools are hiring athletic trainers to handle health issues not only for athletes, but also for the entire student body. Athletic trainers can manage emergency situations when school nurses and other medical personnel are not present or unavailable.

“Athletic trainers can help give peace of mind to parents, students and school staff on and off the athletic fields,” said Brian Robinson, MS, ATC, LAT, chair of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NATA) Secondary School Athletic Trainers’ Committee. “Because they work on school grounds and at other school-sponsored athletic events, they are there to provide immediate, quality health care services, plus they educate students about healthy lifestyles, proper nutrition and safe exercise regimens that can help them stay healthier throughout their lives.”


Role of athletic trainers in secondary schools

As part of a complete health care team, athletic trainers work under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with nurses, athletic directors, school administrators, coaches and parents. Duties of an athletic trainer in the secondary school setting include the following: • Prepare athletes for practice and competition • Develop and implement emergency action plans • Advise on the safety of equipment and field/turf conditions • Develop injury prevention and conditioning programs • Implement treatment and rehabilitation programs for injured athletes • Determine readiness for return-to-play • Provide first response to acute and catastrophic injuries • Participate in the development and implementation of a comprehensive athletic health care system

“Athletic trainers are the only health care providers specifically trained to work with athletes in a school setting,” said Robinson. “They quickly and expertly assess injuries, stabilize injured students and provide life-saving measures.”


Professional training leads to better health care coordination

The athletic trainer's professional preparation is based on the development of specified educational competencies and clinical proficiencies. Through a combination of formal classroom and clinical instruction complemented by clinical experience, athletic trainers are prepared to provide health care to school athletes and other students.

Athletic trainers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree (70 percent have a master's degree or higher) and maintain certification through the Board of Certification, an organization independent of NATA. Athletic trainers differ from “personal trainers” who focus solely on fitness and conditioning and have vastly different education and certification requirements.

Teachers, coaches, administrators and other school officials wishing to learn more about athletic trainers can contact the National Athletic Trainers' Association at 800-879-6282, or visit the NATA Career Center at www.nata.org/careercenter. For information on NATA’s youth sports safety education and its medically appropriate guidelines for high school athletes, visit http://www.nata.org/youthsports/index.htm.

March is National Athletic Training Month and this year’s theme is Health Care for Life & Sport: Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession. NATA supports the right of all patients to have equal access to the services of athletic trainers through the Athletic Trainers’ Equal Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1137). Visit www.nata.org.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport: Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession. Only 42 percent of high schools have access to athletic trainers. NATA members adhere to a code of ethics. NATA supports the right of all patients to have equal access to the services of athletic trainers through the Athletic Trainers’ Equal Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1137). Visit www.nata.org.

 
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