Hammering Home The Need For Athletic Trainers

I published this 10/22…  Since there has been higher volume as of late, I feel it is a good time to repost.  There is also another article by John Doherty that supplements this, HERE.


In findings released today in New Orleans it is becoming more clear that athletic trainers play a vital role in secondary level athletics.  Using reports from 2006-2009 in various injury reporting systems there has been significant findings about injuries and concussions;

Overall injury rates were 1.73 times higher among soccer players and 1.22 times higher among basketball players in schools without athletic trainers. Recurrent injury rates were 5.7 times higher in soccer and 2.97 times higher in basketball in schools without athletic trainers. In contrast, concussion injury rates were 8.05 times higher in soccer and 4.5 times higher in basketball in schools with athletic trainers.

Not having an athletic trainer predisposes the athletes to greater risks, not from the usual sporting activity, but playing with injuries that can develop into greater problems.  Athletic Trainers also have the educational background and grasp of prevention of injury; either through (but not limited to) nutrition/hydration or conditioning of the body.

Athletic Trainers are also on the forefront for concussion awareness, education and assessment, often the first allied health care professional to see the problem and identify it.  As much as I hammer home the need for athletic trainers in regards to concussions, we are also THE go to provider for musculoskeletal injuries as well; look at the re-injury rates without an athletic trainer.

While less than 50 percent of U.S. high schools have athletic trainers, “this data shows the valuable role that they can play in preventing, diagnosing and managing concussions and other injuries,” said Cynthia LaBella, MD, FAAP. “Athletic trainers have a skill set that is very valuable, especially now when there is such a focus on concussions and related treatment and care. Concussed athletes are more likely to be identified in schools with athletic trainers and thus more likely to receive proper treatment.

“Athletic trainers facilitate treatment of injuries and monitor recovery so that athletes are not returned to play prematurely. This likely explains the lower rates of recurrent injuries in schools with athletic trainers,” said Dr. LaBella.

3 thoughts on “Hammering Home The Need For Athletic Trainers

  1. Glenn Beckmann October 22, 2012 / 15:58

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a minute. Dustin knows how I feel about the need for ATCs. But…

    What if the budgetary concerns – which are the usual suspects blamed for the lack of athletic trainers at a school (most recently pegged at about +50% in high schools across the country) – are not the true reason schools and organizations aren’t working harder to get them? After all, they find the money to pay for referees every game. What if they really don’t want them?

    Why could this be? A couple of potential answers. Holdover mentality of coaches and schools not wanting to lose players for extended periods of time is one possibility. Liability is another big one. Does the district assume more liability if they have an ATC on site but he misses a diagnosis? Or he mis-diagnoses a player and returns him to play too soon?

    Players may not want the ATCs around because they won’t be able to hide symptoms and their injuries any longer. By all accounts, it appears that the number of reported concussions is going up – although a report released today indicated nearly 8% of high school players admit they would cover up symptoms of concussion.

    I’ve heard several people argue to me that the only people that really gain from mandatory presence of ATCs at events are the ATCs. I’ve argued that the athletes gain a HUGE amount by having them present but the counter argument is the liability question.

    I’m going to put on my fire retardant underwear now….

    • joe bloggs October 22, 2012 / 18:36

      No need for asbestos underwear. The reality is that sports in the US are built on myths and BS.

      The oracular coach who are more often than not glorified gym teachers. Or they are highest paid gov’t worker in a county or state.

      Coaches who build careers by pimping often poor children to boost their winning records and then washing their hands after the kid falls apart after graduation or really eligibility is exhausted.

      NCAA and like organizations protecting the well connected to keep their business interests churning.

      The lessons learned on the fields of play now include doping, cheating and poor sportsmanship.

      The disillusion parents forcing kids to play like semi-pros although they lack both the genetics and athleticism to compete at a high level.

      The mentality that children’s lives can be destroyed for the benefit of a town, parents or a school.

      It is the sports culture that has collapsed. Joe Paterno was one of the best just imagine the worst.

      The culture needs to be cleaned up, education must come first, and the parasites who exploit children need to put on a leash.

      The lack of ATCs is just a symptom or a festering bankrupt system.

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