Jun 15, 2020
Role of Athletic Trainers in Ohio Change Amid Return to Sports

As high schools begin welcoming student-athletes back on campus to resume some form of athletic activities, the job of high school athletic trainers has slightly shifted.

A typical day for an athletic trainer might involve taping ankles, knee and shoulder issues, and evaluating concussion symptoms. But, according to a recent story in the Beacon Journal, Dr. Joe Congeni, the director of Sports Medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital, sports medicine professionals have to now add “infection control specialists” to their growing list of duties.

athletic trainer“Our trainers are really key in a role that is called infection control specialists,” Congeni, the Archbishop Hoban athletics doctor, said to the Beacon Journal.

Since the start of June, Ohio, as well as other states in the country, have re-opened high school athletic facilities to allow student-athletes to conduct workouts under the supervision of coaches and certified athletic trainers.

Congeni told the Beacon Journal that he also consults with doctors and trainers that are affiliated with area schools through an Akron Children’s Hospital contract.

Below are a few excerpts from various certified athletic trainers from Ohio on how they’ve been conducting offseason conditioning sessions on high school grounds while maintaining state-issued guidelines.

  • “These past couple of weeks, I have spent working alongside the athletic director, the maintenance staff and the janitorial staff at the high school to make sure that we have everything in order as far as sanitation and cleaning processes,” Melanie Bittecuffer, athletic trainer at Hudson High School said to the Beacon Journal. “Our buildings are closed. The kids are not allowed in the locker rooms, bathrooms, weight room, or gym. … All of the coaches have to keep a log and a sign-in of each athlete. They have infrared thermometers that they put close to a kid’s forehead and they get a temperature. They track it and away they go.”


  • “We are around 30ish kids per group and then we have the strength coaches, and the overlook where a coach from a sports team can come in and watch,” Steve Lutz, Hoban’s athletic trainer said to the Beacon Journal. “We can space the kids out properly. … After every set, the kids are cleaning weights. We have Purell stations all over the place in the weight room. The maintenance staff cleans each night, and then on Fridays and the weekend there is a deep clean to make sure everything is sanitized.”

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  • “Everyone is at least six feet apart for social distancing and we don’t have spotters currently,” Darling said. “It is more lower weights and higher reps to get back to the routine,” Ellet High School athletic trainer Josh Darling said to the Beacon Journal. He went to say that all Akron Public Schools student-athletes are “responsible for taking their temperatures before coming into their school.”

To read the full story from the Beacon Journal on how high school athletic trainers are maintaining state-issued guidelines throughout the resumption of athletic activities, click here

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