Archive for June, 2011

Concussion Legislation - Be Cautious of Policies

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The trend this year is for politicians to get into the concussion frenzy and do what politicians do – pass laws.  State associations are also acting responsibly and writing policies directing member schools in concussion management.  While many feel that this is a good and responsible thing, athletic trainers must be wary of passing poorly written legislation or policies.

In an effort to ensure its member schools treat athletes who have suffered concussions properly, the Florida High School Athletic Association adopted a Concussion Action Plan at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting in Gainesville. The plan requires that any athlete who exhibits signs of a concussion be immediately removed from a game or practice and not return until cleared by a health care professional. It also calls for game officials to be aware of athletes who display concussion symptoms and immediately stop play for an injury evaluation. If available, a certified athletic trainer can assist with a sideline evaluation of the player. An athlete diagnosed with a concussion is not permitted to return to play without written clearance from a physician.

As an AT, I am concerned about the wording in this policy and many other states’ legislation specifically “cleared by a health care professional.”  Many health care professions do not have any training in concussion management or treatment.   The issue then becomes who decides who is a qualified health care provider? Are EMTs, CNAs, DCs, PTs, PTAs, et al all qualified to care for concussions?  Are all MDs, DOs and ATs qualified to recognize and manage concussions?  The key word is all

New York State’s proposed legislation seems to get it right in my opinion:
While people on the sidelines, such as coaches, may be well-intentioned, the key is having athletes see someone who's up on the guidelines, knows how to evaluate them and knows when it's safe to return, said Bazarian, an emergency physician who runs a concussion clinic. Under the bill, students who got concussions would be removed immediately from athletic activities. They would not be able to return until they were without symptoms for at least 24 hours and received authorization from a physician.

Concussions are a major concern in the United States now and rightfully so.  The high profile deaths and suicides of professional athletes with several documented concussions have public interest in the problem at an all time high.  Passing legislation in effort to properly recognize and manage concussions is a noble cause, but caution must be taken to ensure the legislation will do what is supposed to do –  get concussed athletes the proper care they need.  In my opinion, the ONLY health care providers who should be mentioned in this legislation should be MD/DOs and ATs.  And since ATs and team physicians work so closely together in most cases, leaving the AT out of the legislation wouldn’t change much anyway.

I must also add that if school administrations, state associations and youth leagues mandated athlete access to athletic trainers, much of the concussion problem would be eliminated.  Much of the legislation is aimed at recognition and healthcare access.  Providing a BOC certified athletic trainer on-site and easily accessible would fulfill these needs.

Read the full FHSAA Article
Read the full NY State Article

Written by: Paul LaDuke, MSS, CSCS, ATC

Improving the Profession and Leaving a Legacy as an AT

Friday, June 24th, 2011

A feature article about Athletic Trainers (ATs) was published on Sunday, June 19, 2011 in The Patriot – News out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Among the three articles about athletic training was an article highlighting a local athletic training legend – Dick Burkholder, or “Burke” as he is known to his colleagues. Burke has been at Carlisle High School since 1960 and has obviously not only seen the profession grow and change, he helped shape it.  Burke remains as passionate about advancing and improving the profession of athletic training today as he did in the mid-70s when he and a few fellow ATs established the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society. Not only is his career a living legend, so is his son, Rick Burkholder, head AT for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Throughout the country there are athletic training fathers and grandfathers who have pioneered and shaped our profession.  They have toiled in dark closest making homemade liniments, making due with little to no supplies and have built upon their successes and mistakes handing down that knowledge to the next generation.  They saw a need and filled the void.

These pioneers are the essence of professionals – they have left their mark on the profession of athletic training and have improved it for the next generation.  Not only did they raise the bar, they raised the floor. It is now our turn to advance the profession, to raise the standard of excellence as these pioneers did for us.  There are many things we can improve, educational standards to tweak and change, state licensure bills to see pass through the prospective state governments, reimbursement, improved pay scales, more ATs in the high schools, etc.

Burke has seen a lot of advancements in athletic training, much of it due to the collective hard work of his generation.  I hope the next generation of ATs can say the same!

Written by: Paul LaDuke, MSS, CSCS, ATC

How Do You Define Athletic Training?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

With the June NATA News editorial being read by thousands, (i.e. The Morning Call) how do athletic trainers appropriately respond? How do we define athletic training and how do we, as athletic trainers, define ourselves? Athletic Training is still a new healthcare profession, receiving increased attention in the past 30 years. Will we as Athletic Trainers continue to educate the public about WHO we are and WHAT we are?
Most importantly, with the dangers of brain injury in sports, we don’t want to compromise the safety of children or adults by having others undermining the credibility of the very ones who can protect them - ATs who are actually equipped to prevent and address medical conditions.

Written by: Daniel Ruedeman

Be Heard: AT Education and CAATE

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Do you want to voice your opinion but you don't  know how or where to express your thoughts about the current state of AT education?

I want to inform you about the CAATE, otherwise known as the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, and how your voice can be heard.

There are many ATs out there passionate about the AT educational process. Some feel the process is ok, some don’t agree with the current education model for future ATs.

What is CAATE?
First thing you need to know is the CAATE . Basically its purpose is to create and oversee the accreditation of AT programs via the Standards. The CAATE is the organization that collect annual reports and send site visitors out to make sure AT programs are providing the proper education and fair policies for the future athletic trainers. 

Here is an example of a standard:
“J2  Clinical experiences must provide students with opportunities to practice and integrate the cognitive learning, with the associated psychomotor skills requirements of the profession, to develop entry-level clinical proficiency and professional behavior as an Athletic Trainer as defined by the NATA Educational Competencies.”

Now, the one thing I also need to point out is that this organization does not create the NATA Educational Competencies.  The competencies are created by the Executive Committee for Education. The competencies tell the educators WHAT to teach. It is up to the individual AT program to figure out HOW to teach it.

How do I make my voice heard?

1. You can attend 1 of the focus groups at the upcoming 2011 NATA Annual Meeting
Monday 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm    New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 6
Tuesday 8:00 am – 9:00 am New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 6
Tuesday 9:15 am – 10:15 am  New Orleans Marriott, La Galerie 6

2. You can email the CAATE.

3. You can check the CAATE website periodically.

4. You can respond  any time CAATE puts the Standards out for public comment. If you are affiliated with an AT program then ask the Program Director to always forward you these emails.

If you are not affiliated with an AT program then maybe ask your alma maters Program Director to forward you those emails. You can also email me. I would be happy to forward those types of documents/newsletters.

I want to end this post in that we have to meet each other halfway. Our organizations could always find other ways to reach out, but also if someone has a strong passionate opinion, they also need to reach out. Contact that organization, an educator, someone to find out how your voice can be heard. We are ALL athletic trainers and are in this together!

Written by: Stacy Walker, PhD, ATC

Athletic Trainers in Performing Arts and Orthopedic Office Settings

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Is your career in the historical setting of athletic training not as challenging as it once was?? Think outside the box- what about working in the performing arts or as a physician extender? Athletic Trainers (ATs) in performing arts provide specialized injury prevention and rehabilitative care to dancers, musicians and vocalists. Studies show that the on-site medical care that the certified athletic trainer can provide to performers reduces both the frequency and severity of injuries as well as reducing operating and production costs. With a growing number of orthopedic surgeons seeking to enhance their practices through physician extenders, Athletic Trainers are also stepping up to the plate.

What would it be like to be behind the scenes of a great act in Las Vegas or running a successful orthopedic clinic for an orthopedic surgeon? Think of different avenues ATs will leave their mark on the profession. Be Certain.™ to attend the pre-conference career workshops in New Orleans during the NATA Annual Meeting and Trade Show on Sunday, June 19, 2011:

Written by: Daniel Ruedeman

Countdown to the 62nd NATA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

The Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC) is excited to see everyone- athletic trainers, candidates, BOC Approved Providers and BOC volunteers- at the NATA’s 62nd Annual Meeting and Trade Show June 20-22, 2011, in New Orleans, LA. There are many activities the BOC will be participating in while exhibiting throughout the week. Be Certain.™ to visit the BOC booth #1454 in the NATA Partner Pavilion for your chance to win a variety of prizes.

The BOC will be presenting the BOC Dan Libera Awards at its reception to honor BOC volunteers. The Dan Libera Service Award was established in 1995 to recognize individuals who have shown dedication to the mission of the BOC. Long-standing contributions to the BOC’s programs are the primary criteria for the award. Last year’s award recipients were David Berry, PhD, ATC, EMT and Keith Wiedrich, ATC.

On June 22nd at 10:45am, attend the BOC’s presentation BOC Continuing Education (CE) Requirements - Changes and Updates for 2012 at the Marriott Convention Center, Rooms 343, 344 and 345. This session will present the review process of CE guidelines that the BOC has conducted over the past 18 months. Updates and changes to the program will be presented and discussed by BOC Executive Director Denise Fandel, AT Ret., CAE and BOC Director of Credentialing Services Shannon Leftwich, ATC and moderated by BOC President Peter Koehneke, ATC, Canisius College.

The BOC is proud to have our volunteers recognized for their dedication to the profession.  Athletic Training Director Marcia Anderson, PhD, ATC, LAT, will be inducted in to the NATA Hall of Fame. Other BOC volunteers being honored at the 2011 NATA Annual Meeting are: Bernadette Olson, EdD, ATC; Marisa Brunett, MS, ATC; Lori Dewald, EdD, ATC, CHES for the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award and John Parsons, PhD, ATC and Cindy Trowbridge, ATC, LAT, CSCS for the Athletic Trainer Service Award. Congratulations everyone!