Michigan and Utah Governors Sign Legislation Offering Licensure to Certified Athletic Trainers
44 States Now Have Statutes Relating to Athletic Training
DALLAS, April 17 - After nearly 20 years of consideration, Michigan and Utah have granted licenses to certified athletic trainers – health care providers that specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. Recently, both Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of Michigan, and Jon Huntsman, Jr., governor of Utah, signed athletic training practice acts into law in their states. The new legislation brings the tally to 44 states with some government regulation of the athletic training profession, with 33 states now offering licensure. “This legislation reflects the evolution of the athletic training profession in terms of our members’ education and acknowledgement of the need for their professional abilities,” said Chuck Kimmel, ATC, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), which represents 30,000 members. “The successful quest for licensure is intended to make life better not only for athletic trainers who practice in Michigan and Utah, but also for the people they treat. The licensure of all allied health professions is important in ensuring qualified professionals are treating the public.” When the Michigan Athletic Trainers’ Society (MATS) first began its quest for licensure in 1976, it faced opposition from other health care groups and a long-term governor who opposed big government. This didn’t deter MATS’s members. In 1998 when the organization testified during the legislative process, it had only 218 members. Today, the organization has grown to 1,100 and has the support of many health professions. Come Dec.1, Michigan’s new athletic trainers’ licensure law will take effect. The Utah Athletic Trainers’ Association (UATA) began to lay the groundwork for legislation in 1998. When the organization presented to the legislature in 2005, its biggest opposition came from other allied health professionals. Eventually, the UATA worked out compromises with them and won over resistant legislators. Gov. Huntsman will appoint a new athletic training board that will oversee the licensure law, which is expected to take effect in September. “For athletic trainers in Michigan and Utah, the new legislation is extremely important, because these states now officially recognize them as credible health care professionals contributing to the care of individuals,” said Keith Webster, ATC, chair of NATA’s Governmental Affairs Committee. “Efforts will continue in states that do not have such statutes, so that eventually athletic trainers everywhere in the country will receive the full recognition they deserve.” About the NATA: Certified athletic trainers are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association represents and supports the 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. www.nata.org. NATA, 2952 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 200, Dallas, TX 75247, 214.637.6282; 214.637.2206 (fax).