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Major sporting events highlight dangers to players and the importance of athletic trainers

WNYT Staff
Created: February 09, 2020 01:50 PM

(Albany, NY) – The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest football game of the year and the road to the playoffs can vary drastically depending on players’ health. What many fans don’t know is that it takes a team of athletic trainers and medical professionals to keep players at peak performance level. 

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Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals that work under the supervision of a physician and provide prevention, emergency care, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical condition services to athletes in all levels of sports – from high school and secondary school all the way to the NFL. They work with the players and sports medicine team to deal with everything ankle sprains to heat illness, and rehabilitating an ACL injury to managing concussions.  Sports injuries are an ever-present danger and the immediate response from an on-site athletic trainer can be critical in recovering from that injury.

“As healthcare professionals, athletic trainers can be considered the first line of defense against injury,” said Arturo Flores, New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association president-elect. “Through our education in prevention of injuries, recognition and treatment of injuries, and the other skills associated with the profession, athletic trainers provide another tool to an institution's healthcare and wellness management.”

While each NFL team is stocked with a fully qualified team of athletic trainers and medical professionals, the same cannot be said for many high school and secondary schools around the country. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, one-third of athletes in secondary schools perform without the protection of an athletic trainer and only 37% of secondary schools have a full-time athletic trainer at their school. This is major when statistics show that every three minutes a child is seen in the emergency room for a concussion related injury. Having an athletic trainer at practice and games allows for immediate assistance to an injured player, allowing for early identification of a potential brain injury or concussion and resulting in quicker treatment and rehabilitation of the injury. This helps to return the player back to school – and to the field – faster but safely. 

Knowing how high the stakes are for secondary and high schools to have qualified athletic trainers, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) is pushing to update an antiquated law from 1992 that would require licensure for athletic trainers in the state. New York is only one of four states that does not require licensure, putting the health of the public and student athletes at risk. 

“Under the current law, student athletes in New York are at risk of being treated by an under-qualified person claiming to be an athletic trainer,” said Courtney Gray, NYSATA member and clinical professor of exercise science and athletic training at Ithaca College. “It is crucial for athletic trainers to be licensed so New York State can ensure all those that are practicing as athletic trainers have met the educational, certification, and continuing education requirements. This ensures the public has credentialed individuals working to keep athlete’s safe.”

For more information on the importance of athletic trainers, visit www.gonysata2.org. To learn more about licensure for athletic trainers and to support the campaign, visit www.getinthegameNY.com

ABOUT NEW YORK STATE ATHLETIC TRAINERS’ ASSOCIATION

NYSATA, founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance the profession of athletic training for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in New York State. Comprised of over 1,500 Certified Athletic Trainers, NYSATA is the statewide affiliate of the regional Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) and District Two of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA)


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