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August 22, 2017

Florida high schools in Hillsborough and Pasco counties are at risk of losing their athletic trainers, thus leading coaches and other officials to find ways to keep them.

According to WUSF News, Bill Browning, Head Football Coach at Sunlake High School, was one of several coaches fighting to make sure their schools could keep their athletic trainers. He said that athletic trainers play vital roles, and he does not miss the days when coaches had to make medical decisions regarding athletes.

“In this day and age, when they know so much more about concussions, heat-related type stuff, the importance of hydration,” Browning said. “Having an athletic trainer is a necessity just for the well-being of your student athlete.”

Tara Mendres, an athletic trainer for Land O'Lakes School, said she spent the summer not knowing whether she would have a job for the next academic year. The Florida Hospital had ended its contract with Pasco County, thus forcing the schools to find another source of funding that would pay the athletic trainers' salaries. The community is supporting retaining her.  

“They took to social media,” Mendres said. “They were calling anybody that they felt had anything to do with keeping us around. Coaches did the same, administration did the same.”

Hillsborough County recently lost the state money that paid 13 out of 27 of its athletic trainers, supplied through the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute (SMART), out of the University of South Florida.. At this point, Blake, Leto, and Strawberry Crest High Schools do not have athletic trainers this year, and the status of the remaining schools could not be confirmed.


Carson Reavis, a former football player, called athletic trainers must-haves for all teams.

“You'll never see an NFL team without a trainer,” he said. “You'll never see a college team without a trainer. You have to have a trainer.”

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