Archive for July, 2011

Educating the Public to Have Athletic Trainers at Schools

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

A July 20, 2011, ToledoBlade article,  Mason schools won’t hire athletic trainers - Board leaves door open to use private fund, written by Carl Ryan caught my eye. The article stated that school board members approved the idea of an athletic trainer (AT) at practices and games to tape athletes’ joints and attend to their injuries, but they balked at the $9,950 annual cost.

Mr. Drewyor said he checked with the other schools in the Lenawee County Athletic Association, which is Mason’s sports league, and learned all had ATs to whom they paid $6,500 to $12,000 each year out of their operating funds.
But board President Sandra Dobbs said the cost of an AT would be “a huge financial burden” for the strapped Mason district at a time when the state is cutting funding. Ms. Dobbs was joined by others. “I’m not opposed to sports having an athletic trainer,” explained board member Jacki Clark, “but I won’t approve another $10,000 for it.”

Not only are they completely devaluing the position, the school board seems ignorant of the role of athletic trainers as indicated by this quote:

Added Mike Ginther, another board member, “I’m all for having it, but we ought to be able to find someone in college to do it.”

What is particularly troubling about this line of thinking is that a school board wouldn’t think about putting a college student in a classroom without a supervising certified teacher. When the college student is placed in the classroom it is during the senior year or even a 5th year of college when most course work is already completed. But this school board, will put the health of their athletes in the hands of an unqualified, inexperienced person. 

At least an AT was present to educate the school board:

Mason would have hired its athletic trainer through the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, which has contracts with 21 school systems to provide trainers for all sports, said Burton Rogers, a UTMC faculty member with a PhD in biomechanics and anatomy.

Mr. Rogers explained that athletic trainers must be licensed in Michigan and Ohio and are a valuable asset to any serious sports program. He told board members they were looking at the issue the wrong way. “I think you’re making an error by looking at this as an expenditure, not as an investment,” he said. And he nixed Mr. Ginther’s suggestion.

Interns or students studying to be athletic trainers “can’t be out there without the supervision of a licensed trainer,” said Mr. Rogers, a licensed athletic trainer. Similarly, Mr. Rogers said, coaches aren’t appropriate as athletic trainers: “At practice, you’re there to coach. You’re not there to evaluate an injury.” He said football players weren’t the only athletes who sustained injuries. “In high school, the second most concussed athlete is in girl’s soccer,” he explained.

Mr. Rogers did an outstanding job of promoting the profession and supporting the hiring of an athletic trainer by a school board. The current economy (2011) is forcing school boards to make very tough decisions and athletic trainers seem to be in the cross hair of the budget cut rifle.  Many ATs will be forced to defend their position to a school board who may see them as a luxury and not a necessity. But an Oregon Live article, The Bachscore: High schools partner with hospitals and clinics for athletic trainers, written by Rachel Bachman reports a similar scenario concludes with this:

Despite the apparent increase in access to athletic trainers, only about 28 percent of high schools at all levels in Oregon have access to one, Wood said. Most schools without athletic trainers are in inner-city or rural areas, and even a patchwork plan is better than nothing.

“These clinical outreach programs, they’re a start,” Robinson said. “If you’re going to have an athletic program in a high school, you better have an athletic trainer. It’s not the luxury that people used to think it was. It should be a priority.”

Well said Mr. Robison! My fellow ATs, this is why we must collectively work to educate the public about our education, our qualifications and our role in healthcare.  Each of us must work on the grass roots level to educate our own administration, coaches and parents as Mr. Rogers and Mr. Robison did so adequately.  We must collectively work to enhance our efforts of educating the general public.

Written by: Paul LaDuke, MSS, ATC, CSCS

This Week's FAQs

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Did you know that the acronym FAQ was born at NASA? FAQ stands for “frequently asked question” and, here at the BOC, we want to address some recent questions that have been brought to our attention by ATs and candidates.
This Week's Question: I just passed the BOC exam!  What is the next step?
Answer: Passing the BOC exam is just the first step.  There are a few items you must submit to complete your file for certification before you can officially use the ATC® credential.

Be Certain.™ that the following items have been submitted to complete your file for certification:

Official transcript - Mail your official transcript with degree and date of degree posted (upon graduation) in a university sealed envelope to:

Board of Certification
Attn: Credentialing Services Dept.
1415 Harney St Ste 200
Omaha NE  68102-2205

ECC card - A front and back signed copy of your current ECC card must be faxed or scanned and emailed to:

Fax: (402) 561-0598 (Attn: Credentialing Services Dept.)

You will receive an email notification that everything has been processed and that you have the go-ahead to use the credential. You can publicize your status as a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer (AT) by sending a press release to your local newspaper or by posting it on Twitter. We also have certificates and plaques you can order to display your accomplishment. Visit the BOC website about more ideas on how to market your BOC certification.

For more information regarding the maintenance of your BOC certification and other responsibilities, we encourage you to watch the short video Your Credential, Your Responsibility on the BOC’s YouTube Channel.

Currently, there are 48 states that have some form of athletic training regulation. The BOC exam is a requirement to obtain regulation in 46 of the 48 states; however, it is important to recognize that passing the BOC exam is only a precursor to athletic training practice. Compliance with state regulatory requirements is mandatory and the only avenue to legal athletic training practice. For specific details regarding state regulation, please contact your state regulatory agency.

When you start using the credential, remember that ATC refers to the credential held by a Certified Athletic Trainer (AT). ATC should only be used when referring to the credential, and it should not be used in singular or plural form (ATC or ATCs) when referring to an individual Athletic Trainer (AT) or a group of Athletic Trainers (ATs).

Thoughts After the BOC Athletic Trainer Regulatory Conference

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

This week I attended the BOC’s Athletic Trainer Regulatory Conference in Omaha. One session included an examination of various state practice acts to identify regulations that vary from the ideal. From narrowly defined patient populations to restrictions from practicing in certain settings to limitations on the types of treatments that an athletic trainer can administer, numerous restrictions exist. Many of these less-than-ideal regulations stem from the era in which they were formulated; others arose from concessions made to other parties.

I left with more questions than answers.  How can we best embark on a unified approach to acquiring licensure in all 50 states that allows athletic trainers to use their full skill set in meeting the needs of their clients and patients? How can we corral the many resources from the BOC, the NATA, the Governmental Affairs Committee, and those who have successfully established quality regulation? It’s time to make a renewed commitment with a defined plan of action on this critical issue.

Written By: Sara D. Brown, MS, ATC

Relationships as Assets

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Being a huge Peyton Manning fan and a Manning family fan in general, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to listen to Archie Manning speak at the NATA Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  He did a wonderful job, provided laughs as well as insight from his life to help each of ours.  The thing I took home with me further solidified the message I stress to my students.  It wasn't just about being a leader, it wasn't just about overcoming adversity.  Early in his speech he shared with us what he told both Peyton and Eli as they began their pro careers.  He told them to get to know your equipment manager and your athletic trainer.  He said that coaches and teammates come and go but in most cases the equipment manager and athletic trainer (AT) are always there. 

This speaks volumes because of the unique opportunity we as professionals have to develop relationships with such a variety of people - from athletes, to coaches, to parents, administrators, health care professionals, etc.  I tell my students to treat each kid like they would their own.  As a parent, that’s easy for me to say and not easy for a college student to relate to.  I tell them to treat each kid as if he or she was the superintendent’s child. 

In the high school setting, your relationship, as the Athletic Trainer, with your student-athletes is vital.  The same is also true in the collegiate setting.  I always say if you get the kid to like you, the parents will too before they even meet you!  What better group to support your efforts than parents.  The important thing to remember however for all of us is that these students we treat each and every day, one day may become a superintendent or administrator, maybe even a legislator or physician.  Heck, one day they may even become a parent!  Are you providing the example of how an AT acts, what an AT does and why an AT is important now to these future leaders of America?  Are they having a first hand experience towards the value we provide as professionals?

Written by: Thomas M. Nowakowski Jr., ATC