Jan 29, 2015
NATA Head Finds Flaw

While in Washington, D.C., for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s annual Capitol Hill Day last week, Marjorie Albohm, MS, ATC, President of the NATA, gave an interview in which she described that current collegiate model for student-athlete health care as “flawed.”
In the interview, conducted with Brad Wolverton of the The Chronicle of Higher Education, Albohm addressed the NCAA’s stance on head injuries and how it fits into the current model for student-athlete health care.

She told Wolverton: “I’m not personally in favor of mandates [for concussion assessment and treatment]. But I think you look at this in terms of what are the health-care provisions for your student-athletes overall? Although the spotlight is on concussion-and it’s good that it’s there-what is your overall health-care plan for your student-athletes? And that goes back to where those services are housed: Who is the athletic trainer answering to? The athletics director? Or the coach? Or the team doctor?

If I’m an athletic trainer, when I need to make a return-to-play decision, I want to talk to my team doctor, and I want that word to stand. I don’t want to report to a coach or an athletics director who has entirely different motivation for those decisions.”

When asked is she forsees a time when most athletic trainers would not report to an athletic administrator or coach, Albohm, shared her thoughts on what she perceives as a flawed model for student-athlete health care:

“I first was naive enough to think that such a change would be embraced by athletics departments because you have four or five full-time employees-it’s not a money-maker, wouldn’t you like to get rid of this cost center? So I asked the question of several people: Why do they want to keep it? And I was told for control. So if a program is recruiting a new coach, and part of the deal is he wants to bring his own athletic trainer, you’re gone.

As recently as two years ago, when a colleague of mine took a job at a Division I school, she asked the athletics director that question: If a coach comes in here and wants to bring his own athletic trainer, can he do that? And the AD said, I wish I could tell you differently.

Because of policies like that, the whole premise of how we’re providing health care when it’s in an athletics model is flawed.”


The NATA head is correct when the health care provider reports to an athletic administrator and has “other duties as assigned” such as laundry or equipment then you are no longer health care professional. I have been Certified as an Athletic Trainer for 24 years and the system has been flawed since 1950 when the NATA started. The NCAA dictates to athletic departments whom dictate to the athletic trainers-if we were to be placed in the health center on the university hired by the health center and assigned to the athletic department that might help, I don’t see the doctors at the local hospital checking with the hospital administrators?

-Richard Cobey

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