With the ever-growing current of law suits regarding about everything in life (see hot coffee) when a school district has the chance to diminish some of the risk why not take it. Sure it is going to cost something up front, but why not be protected and give the coaches and administration some stress relief? What is the cost for peace of mind?
The website PennLive.com recently ran a story, from the Patriot-Ledger and Stefanie Loh, about how the need for athletic trainers far outweighs the cost associated with the profession (thank you Chainsaw);
“We’ve been working on that for a while now, trying to really emphasize it,” said Janik, the head athletic trainer at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre. “But it’s tough, especially with all the budget cuts.”
With school districts across the state forced to cut corners to accommodate shrinking budgets, there are already indications that some might resort to eliminating athletic training positions to make ends meet.
The state in the story is Pennsylvania, where a recent study found that 81 percent of the high schools had access to an athletic trainer. However eliminating that position may save some much-needed money, but what about those that are getting hurt, and with an emphasis on concussions, who better to have on staff than an athletic trainer. Even Kevin Guskiewicz and Micky Collins chimed in on the matter;
“If you can’t afford to put an athletic trainer out there, if you can’t afford to put the best equipment and the right tools out there to enhance player safety, then you need to think about whether you should have a sports program at all,” said Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, an internationally recognized leader in concussion research and department chair of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s exercise and sports science program.
Added UPMC’s Dr. Micky Collins, a neuropsychologist who helped to develop the ImPACT test commonly used to evaluate concussions: “I think athletic trainers are absolutely essential. They are one of the more informed professionals in concussion management.”
Those are some heavy words from heavy hitters; but something must be done in order for student-athletes to have the best coverage possible. I do not believe there is
another state, other than Texas a state (maybe Hawaii), that has requirements for athletic trainers. It is a relatively young profession that has more to do with administration and management than taping ankles and filling water coolers.
As the National Athletic Trainers’ Association is meeting in New Orleans this is a good time for all in the secondary school area to take stock of what they are providing for their student-athletes in terms of injury prevention, evaluation and management. Oh, and I second Dr. Collins, we are one of the most informed professionals when it comes to concussions.