Jan 2, 2024
Pennsylvania ATC wants expanded authority for athletic trainers

The athletic training profession is often misunderstood by the general public. The title of an athletic trainer may not even describe their job duties effectively.

The training and education it takes to receive athletic training are demanding and expansive. More than just taping ankles and bagging up ice, an accredited athletic trainer is more akin to a sports medicine professional than a personal trainer.

pennsylvaniaIn an effort to help the general population understand the role of an athletic trainer, Tanya Miller, MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-CES, wrote a letter to the editor for PennLive.com detailing their job duties while advocating for the expansion of who athletic trainers in Pennsylvania can give care to.

Below is Miller’s letter to the PennLive.com editor.

At high schools and colleges across the commonwealth, members of performing arts and military training have one thing in common: they are physically active. But many do not fit the state definition of a “physically active person” to allow athletic trainers (AT) to care for them.

ATs are the only health care providers in Pennsylvania that have a defined patient population, i.e., a physically active person. The state defines the group as people who participate in organized, individual, or team sports, athletic games, or recreational sports activities. Every other healthcare provider in Pennsylvania is limited by the type of services that they provide concerning an injury or illness – not by the activity of the patient.

Senate Bill 559 and Senate Bill (SB) 560 seek to change that. The bills would expand the definition of “physically active person” to allow ATs to see patients that are members of the performing arts or military training. This would include an initial assessment and referral.

The AT is often the only healthcare provider at a high school or college. There is currently a healthcare provider crisis in Pennsylvania with patients flooding urgent cares and hospitals. If these bills are passed, an athletic trainer at a high school or college could provide initial assessments and treatments to facilitate referral to an appropriate doctor. This could reduce the number of people who have to go to urgent care facilities and hospitals.

SB 559 and SB 560 are steps in the right direction to provide equity to the athletic training profession and to alleviate the burden on heath care facilities.

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