U.S. Senate Re-Introduces Legislation to Protect Athletes and the Medical Professionals Who Provide Their Care

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DALLAS, TEXAS, April 4, 2017 – The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S. 808), has just been re-introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The house version of the bill, H.R. 302, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 9 of this year. The legislation, which would protect athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals who travel out of state with an athletic team to provide care, ultimately ensures that the medical care of athletes is not jeopardized. The bill was first introduced in Congress in 2015. If it passes in the Senate, it will go to the president’s desk for final signature to make it a law.


S. 808 clarifies medical liability rules for athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure they are properly covered by their liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state. Under the bill, health care services provided by a covered athletic trainer or other sports medicine professional to an athlete, athletic team or a staff member in another state will be deemed to have satisfied any licensure requirements of the secondary state.


“Imagine a scenario where a sports medicine professional, like all of the dedicated athletic trainers who supported student athletes during the recent NCAA basketball tournament, is at risk for doing his or her job and treating an injured player,” said Thune.


“Sports medicine professionals in Minnesota and across the country should be able to treat athletes on the road without worrying about unnecessary legal risks – whether they’re working for a professional team or their local high school,” said Klobuchar.


Parents, athletes, coaches, leading sport and health care organizations and others are encouraged to contact their senators to ask for support of the bill. Currently, parents may not realize their children may not have appropriate medical care when traveling with their sports teams across state lines: this bill would ensure that care. NATA’s Federal Legislative Alert Center provides information on how to contact members of the U.S. Senate. Timing is critical to confirm cosponsors and support.


“The National Athletic Trainers’ Association continues to spearhead this legislation which ensures that medical care is not jeopardized for the athlete,” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “The bill protects athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals and is vital to the health and well-being of athletes of all ages.”


Once this legislation becomes law, health care providers will be able to treat injured athletes across state lines without the fear of incurring great professional loss. This bill reinforces the sports medicine team collaborative approach to care among physicians, athletic trainers and others. It is also vital in light of playoffs and championship games from youth to professional sports and where teams travel a great distance with little notification.


NATA is pleased that the Senate has decided to consider this important legislation and continues to work tirelessly to advocate on behalf of athletes and athletic trainers.