Guideline Technical Standards for Entry-level Athletic Training Education


Part 1 - History and Rationale

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. 101-336 ("ADA" or "the Act"), enacted on July 26, 1990, provides comprehensive civil rights protections to qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA was modeled after Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which marked the beginning of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. As amended, Section 504 "prohibits all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are 'otherwise qualified' to participate in those programs." With respect to post-secondary educational services, an "otherwise qualified" individual is a person with a disability "who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity."

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and Title III are applicable to students with disabilities and their requests for accommodations. Title II covers state colleges and universities. Title III pertains to private educational institutions; it prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of "public accommodation," including undergraduate and postgraduate schools.

Given the intent of Section 504 and the ADA, the development of standards of practice for a profession, and the establishment of essential requirements to the student's program of study, or directly related to licensing requirements, is allowable under these laws. In applying Section 504 regulations, which require individuals to meet the "academic and technical standards for admission," the Supreme Court has stated that physical qualifications could lawfully be considered "technical standard(s) for admission."

Institutions may not, however, exclude an "otherwise qualified" applicant or student merely because of a disability, if the institution can reasonably modify its program or facilities to accommodate the applicant or student with a disability. However, an institution need not provide accommodations or modify its program of study or facilities such that (a) would "fundamentally alter" and/or (b) place an "undue burden on" the educational program or academic requirements and technical standards which are essential to the program of study.

Part 2 - Use of the Guidelines

The following Guidelines embody the physical, cognitive, and attitudinal abilities an Entry-level Athletic Trainer must be able to demonstrate in order to function in a broad variety of clinical situations; and to render a wide spectrum of care to athletes and individuals engaged in physical activity. The Guidelines serve to recognize abilities essential to the development of these Entry-level abilities. Further, the Guidelines reflect the necessary and required skills and abilities identified for the Entry-level Athletic Trainer as detailed in the NATA Athletic Training Educational Competencies and the BOC, Inc., Role Delineation Study.

Institutions and programs should use these Guidelines as a reference point in the development of specific requirements, "technical standards," for admission to, and completion of, their educational program. Requirements should be objective, measurable, and should be applied to student admission to the program.

Institutions and programs should provide their students with the applicable technical standards in a timely fashion. This could be prior to admission to the institution (for those programs that admit students directly to the program) or soon after the student has entered the institution (for those programs that admit students through a secondary admission process).

While technical standards should be applied to student admission to the institution and/or program, some programs may, additionally, apply technical standards as the student moves through the program, and/or use technical standards as a measure of the student's attainment of criteria for graduation.

Entry-level Athletic Training Education Programs must contact and work with their institution's ADA Compliance Officer, Office of Affirmative Action, or appropriate institutional office in the development and implementation of technical standards specific to their institution. This document is only intended as a guide or reference point for the development and implementation of technical standards. The ADA Compliance Officer (or appropriate person) at your institution is a valuable resource in the development and implementation of technical standards. It is strongly encouraged that programs not develop and implement technical standards without this important advice and counsel.

Part 3 - Sample Technical Standards

The following sample technical standards are presented in three sections. The introduction explains the rationale for the technical standards and how they may be used by the program. The main section includes the technical standards. The final section includes a statement that the student has read the technical standards and, by their signature, acknowledges an understanding of the implications of the standards.

Institutions and programs should use these sample technical standards as a reference point in the development of more detailed and/or specific standards for their program.

Compliance with technical standards does not guarantee a student's eligibility for the BOC certification exam.

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