Jan 29, 2015Counting On CATS
By Scott Anderson
Recently, Scott Anderson, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Oklahoma, was named President of the College Athletic Trainers’ Society (CATS). Here, he shares how CATS is working to improve safety for college athletes and making sure today’s athletic trainers receive the support and recognition they deserve.
I am honored to sit as President of this society, especially at a time of heightened attention toward medical issues in sport, as that is the domain and forte of the college athletic trainer. I have always been keenly aware of the historical contributions of the college athletic trainer as we founded and shaped our profession. But, I am reminded anew that this same spirit continues in the contemporary athletic medicine professional that is the college athletic trainer.
We continue to be the educators and mentors of the next generation of athletic trainers. We also continue to lead in expanding the margin of safety for athletes. There is no clearer example of the college athletic trainer’s role in the care and prevention of injury than in the “hot topic” of concussions. Today, this area is a focus of media, government, and sports governing bodies.
It is a college athletic trainer, Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, who lead a research team and a consortium of college athletic trainers in concussion data collection that directly resulted in two Journal of the American Medical Association articles and set the stage for existing standards regarding recognition and management of concussion in sport at all levels. College athletic trainers’ case reporting to the NCAA’s injury surveillance program has revealed a plateau, if not a drop, in the incidence of concussions in college athletes.
Credit for this, in no small part, goes to college athletic trainers and their use of evidence-based concussion management protocols and practices–born from their own earlier data collection. Also, it was a college athletic trainer, Ron Courson, ATC, who spearheaded the prevention/education effort that has outdistanced all others with the “Heads Up” video.
College athletic trainers are also presently focused on an expanding margin of safety for athletes engaged in sport with heightened awareness to factors relating to sudden death. Whether it’s head injuries, cardiac conditions, exertional heat illness, or exertional sickling, the college athletic trainer has a unique opportunity to address risks and solutions with coaches, administrators, and strength coaches. The College Athletic Trainers’ Society is a leading voice and force in these areas. CATS is committed to recognition of the professional accomplishments of its members, as well as meeting the personal needs of its membership. The CATS Quality of Life Award is given to the college athletic trainer or athletic training staff that has risen to the occasion or continually acts to improve the quality of life of fellow collegiate athletic trainers and others. The Jack Weakley CATS Service Award honors an individual who has demonstrated loyal support for the members of CATS, made significant contributions to improve the role of the college athletic trainer, and provided exemplary service throughout their career. Annually, multiple CATS Family Scholarships are awarded to the sons and daughters of CATS members enrolled full-time at colleges and universities. We embrace all these opportunities. And, challenges remain. There is a need to coordinate networking and communication within our professional peer group, and CATS is committed to achieving that. We seek to elevate awareness of the society within the field, just as we seek to elevate awareness of our profession with the various disciplines and organizations that comprise the wide realm of athletic organizations.
Scott Anderson, ATC, is Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Oklahoma and President of the College Athletic Trainers’ Society. He welcomes your e-mails at: