Appropriate Medical Coverage of Intercollegiate Athletics

Recommendations and Guidelines for Appropriate Medical Coverage

of Intercollegiate Athletics

NATA’s Recommendations and Guidelines for Appropriate Medical Coverage of Intercollegiate Athletics (Revised) offer college and university health care providers a system by which they can evaluate their current level of coverage for student-athletes. These recommendations have been created for the safety of student-athletes competing at the collegiate level. To that end, certified athletic trainers in this setting must have a thorough understanding of the recommendations before implementing the system.

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Definition of Appropriate Medical Coverage

Appropriate medical coverage involves more than basic emergency care during sports participation. It encompasses the provision of many other health care services for the student-athlete. While emergency medical care and event coverage are critical, appropriate medical coverage also includes activities of ongoing daily health care of the student-athlete, such as:

  • Determination of athletes’ readiness to participate, in conjunction with the team physician (i.e., pre-participation evaluation and post-injury/illness return)
  • Risk management and injury prevention
  • Recognition, evaluation and immediate treatment of athletic injuries/illnesses
  • Rehabilitation and reconditioning of athletic injuries
  • Psychosocial intervention and referral
  • Nutritional aspects of injuries/illnesses
  • Health care administration
  • Professional development to maintain and improve knowledge and skills


Basis for Recommendation

Recommendations were based on current literature and data pertaining to the topic. Included in the review were:

  • Relevant published literature
  • Guidelines and position statements from sports medicine organizations and associations
  • Detailed institutional and conference studies (i.e., injury rates, treatments per injury rate)
  • National surveys of current medical coverage
  • Two-year AMCIA Injury surveillance data (Powell & Dompier, In Review)
  • NCAA Injury Surveillance System
  • NCAA Emergency Care and Coverage Survey
  • NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook
  • Legal cases and settlements related to athletic injuries
  • National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury surveillance



Contained in the AMCIA document are:

  • Revised Recommendations and Guidelines for Appropriate Medical Coverage of Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Revised System Worksheet and accompanying narrative to assist individuals in applying the recommendations (Appendix A)
  • Time Loss Injury Rate and Catastrophic Injury Rate classification tables (original Tables 7 and 11 respectively)
  • # Additional/updated references where indicated

Disclaimer: Consistent with the first edition, institutions are encouraged to view these recommendations as guidelines, not mandates, taking into consideration their unique individual needs. We encourage institutions to consider these recommendations a “living document” because further revisions may be required as more information becomes available, or as preventative techniques, rules and policies change.

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