A Utah bill that would require high schools with athletic programs to hire full-time licensed athletic trainers by the 2020-21 school year was voted to be held in committee. The main concerns centered on the estimated $10.6 million annual cost.
“It’s basically an unfunded mandate,” Carl Boyington, executive director of the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals, told the Deseret News. “Even though the bill has some suggestion how you can fund the bill, it’s very difficult to replace a math teacher or an English teacher with an athletic trainer.”
Some of the suggestions for funding the bill included repurposing salaries of retiring employees. Following almost an hour of debate and discussion with the Utah Legislature’s House Education Committee, Rep. Paul Ray, the bill’s sponsor, said he will work to bring back an updated version that addresses financial concerns while maintaining a focus on student-athlete safety.
“The cost is always a concern,” Ray told the Deseret News. “We’ve got to look at the cost of that permanent knee injury, or CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy that can result from multiple concussions or traumatic brain injury) or death? In football, you have heat-related deaths.”