FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NATIONAL ATHLETIC TRAINERS’ ASSOCIATION (NATA) ADDRESSES KENTUCKY BILL REGARDING SECONDARY SCHOOL-AGED ATHLETES AND SPORTS SAFETY
Bill is an important first step, but it is the athletic trainer who is integral to the health and wellness of the student athlete
Coaches have important jobs to do but medical care is not one of them
In light of recent secondary school sports safety issues in Kentucky, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) had followed with concern a proposed state bill requiring high school coaches to complete first aid and sports safety training on athlete heat stroke and cold emergencies. This measure was in response to the death of a teenage football player at a sweltering summer practice last year.
“We agree that the bill is a good start, but falls far short of what needs to be done,” says Marjorie J. Albohm, MS, ATC, president of NATA. “A course in prevention will make coaches aware of some of the dangers. Such a course, however, is not going to prepare a coach for an emergency situation. When a student athlete goes down on the playing field with a serious medical condition, it is the athletic trainer who is educated to serve as the first responder. Coaches have a vital role on a team but it is the role of the health professional to care for related health conditions. The bill as it is now written may give a false sense of security to athletes and their parents – and probably to coaches and school officials as well.”
“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.”
With the proliferation of school sports, and increasing student athletic participation, the importance of proper on-site health care has never been greater. Yet only 42% of high schools have access to athletic trainers. Immediate care can reduce the onset of short- and long-term quality of life and financial consequences from numerous medical conditions and injuries including concussion and heat illness. 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.
“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.”
The American Medical Association recommends certified athletic trainers in all high school athletic programs, signaling its continuing commitment to youth sports safety and a confidence in the athletic training profession.
NATA has issued appropriate medical care guidelines for secondary school-aged athletes. These recommendations, published in the Journal of Athletic Training, are designed for schools and other organizations that sponsor athletic programs and for the team administrators and staff members who oversee them. Highlights include: • Develop and implement a comprehensive athletic health care administrative system • Determine the individual’s readiness to participate • Promote safe and appropriate practice, competition and treatment facilities • Advise on the selection, fit, function and maintenance of athletic equipment • Develop and implement a comprehensive emergency action plan • Establish protocols regarding environmental conditions • Provide for on-site recognition, evaluation and immediate treatment of injury and illness, with appropriate referrals • Facilitate rehabilitation and reconditioning • Provide for psychosocial consultation and referral • Provide scientifically sound nutritional counseling and education • Develop injury and illness prevention strategies To review the complete statement, visit http://www.nata.org/jat/readers/archives/43.4/attr-43-04-416.pdf.
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.