Student athlete concussions and lack of certified athletic trainers
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A new study published in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Journal of Athletic Training suggests student athletes who attended high schools with a low availability of athletic trainers are 50 percent more likely to have a sports-related concussion that goes un-identified, un-assessed or mismanaged.
The situation is even more concerning in California because the state remains the only one in the nation that does not regulate the athletic training profession, meaning anyone, regardless of education or certification, can act as an athletic trainer and treat serious injuries like concussions, with potentially dire consequences including permanent disability and death, according to the study.
Currently, the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) is working on legislation that will be introduced this year that would protect the public by requiring licensure for athletic trainers in the state. Under the bill, individuals must be certified by the Board of Certification before they can call themselves “athletic trainers” and provide health care.
According to the study, while parents may think they’re taking the necessary precautions to safeguard their children against injury on the playing field, the truth is, if there isn’t a qualified athletic trainer overseeing their student athlete’s care, the child is at significantly higher risk of sustaining a serious injury.