Study Zeroes in on Risk

November 16, 2018

Student athletes who attended high schools with a low availability of athletic trainers (AT) – mostly in rural and inner-city areas – are 50 percent more likely to have a sports-related concussion (SRC) that goes un-identified, un-assessed or mismanaged, according to a study published in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Journal of Athletic Training.

More than 78 percent of the schools in the study with low AT availability are located in rural and inner-city areas. Athletes at schools with low AT availability:

  • Waited longer before the first AT interaction after an SRC (24 hours vs. 1 hour for mid and high AT availability schools);
  • Had fewer post-SRC interactions with an AT; and
  • Returned to play sooner than athletes at high and mid AT availability schools (2.5 days sooner).

“Providing student athletes with consistent access to athletic trainers is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA strongly recommends that parents advocate for their student athlete. Research continues to support the important role athletic trainers play in preventing and diagnosing injury. While the impact of sports far exceeds the risks, programs have an obligation to offer a safer approach – which includes appropriate care.”

Additionally, only 53 percent of “low AT availability” schools underwent a return to play protocol at all compared to 94 percent at “mid AT availability” schools and 100 percent at “high AT availability” schools. Returning to play too soon or without proper care increases the likelihood of a repeated concussion or other sports injury by up to 50 percent as well as increases the chance for catastrophic or long-lasting effects.

The research team gathered injury data on approximately 2,400 student athletes ages 14-18 in high schools across Wisconsin. Of the 400 schools that sponsor interscholastic teams in Wisconsin, only one-third have high AT availability, meaning an AT is available on a daily basis during school, practice and competition hours (equivalent to 35-40 hours a week). Another third of the schools have mid AT availability (during school and at varsity and sub-varsity events, or 10 to 15 hours per week). The rest have low AT availability (1 hour a week during the school day and at home varsity football games, or about 1 to 1-1/2 hours a week total) or no AT coverage at all. This is particularly problematic as 36 percent of SRC injuries occur during non-game situations.

The representative sample used for this study supports the most recent national survey conducted by the Korey Stringer Institute measuring AT services in public schools, which reported that 70 percent of secondary schools have access to an AT in some capacity, but only 37 percent have a full-time AT, which is the gold standard of care recommended by NATA.
NATA, the American Medical Association and youth sports advocacy groups have all recognized the value of having high school based ATs. However, implementation is inconsistent. The data underscores that it is important for parents to advocate for appropriate care on their child’s athletic teams.

 

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

A Rebounder With Versatility

Medicine ball exercises are a staple of many workout routines. Whether the goal is performance enhancement by strengthening the core or helping an athlete rehab from an injury, medicine balls are versatile piece of equipment that can get the job done. But most strength coaches and athletic trainers don’t have enough time available to catch … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Author and Strength Coach Mike Mejia Praises VersaClimber

“Over the course of the past twenty years I’ve trained hundreds of clients that run the gamut from average Joe’s to professional athletes and in all that time, I’ve never come across a cardio piece that comes anywhere near the Versa Climber!” says Mike Mejia M.S., CSCS, author of The Men’s Heath Better Body Blueprint, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Indoor Pool Surface Solution

Mateflex has indoor pool surfacing that is safer and more enjoyable to walk on than concrete. Mateflex offers perforated tiles to allow water to drain through that can cover up old, unsightly concrete or just spruce up a new area with a colorful design. The interlocking tiles dry quickly while keeping your feet out of … CLICK TO READ MORE...

The Evolution of the Lifting Platform

The days of the above ground weightlifting platform may be a thing of the past. More and more high schools, colleges, and professional strength and conditioning facilities who are either building a new facility or renovating an existing facility are going away from the traditional above ground lifting platform and choosing the inlaid platform, which … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Teaching Principles: Neck Rotation

Coach Bill ‘Jake’ Jacobs goes back to the basic teaching principles with Neck Rotation. View his demonstration.  CLICK TO READ MORE...

VIEW MORE ARTICLES