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home : opinion : opinion July 23, 2016

12/6/2012 6:01:00 AM
Reader Letter: Athletic trainers mischaracterized

I am writing on behalf of the Arizona Athletic Trainers' Association regarding the article, "Is medical care at Kingman football games adequate?" by Rodney Haas, published on Nov. 11.

While the article highlights the important issue of appropriate medical coverage for high-risk athletic competition such as football, it contained three inaccuracies regarding the athletic training profession that we would like to correct.

First, the article quoted an individual as stating that the immediate management of football injuries is "beyond the expertise of an athletic trainer." This statement is not accurate. In Arizona, athletic trainers are licensed health care professionals and are authorized to prevent, examine, evaluate, rehabilitate and manage sport-related injuries. Consequently, football injuries are well within the expertise and scope of practice of athletic trainers.

Second, the article states that athletic trainers have a higher certification than EMTs. There is no relationship between the certifications of EMTs and athletic trainers, as they are distinct professions. As established above, athletic training is a licensed health care profession requiring a minimum of a four-year college degree.

In addition, more than 60 percent of athletic trainers have graduate degrees. Athletic trainers recognize EMTs as valuable members of the sports medicine team and acknowledge that their availability can be an important factor in expediting medical care for acutely injured student-athletes.

Unfortunately, many schools are unable or unwilling to afford the cost of on-site EMTs, just as they are unable or unwilling to afford the cost of a full-time athletic trainer.

Lastly, the article incorrectly referred to athletic trainers as "trainers." The person practicing athletic training is properly referred to as an "athletic trainer." The term "trainer" confuses us with other similarly named professions that do not have the same level of training and/or education as athletic trainers.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these matters.

John Parsons, president

Arizona Athletic Trainers' Association

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Article comment by: On Different Pages

While that was very well written and informative, I believe that the question the previous letter was asking was more about emergent medical care and the availability of an ambulance to be on site. It did not appear to me that anyone was trying to imply that athletic trainers are incapable of treating and managing sports related injuries, nor that athletic trainers have a similar education level to that of EMT's. If I remember correctly the examples the article used were medical injuries requiring immediate medical attention, best attained from an on-site ambulance and trained EMT's or medics. Having athletic trainers on-site would obviously be beneficial as they could recognize a potentially critical situation more astutely than the lay person could. Also, thank you for informing us not to call you "trainers". I need to start telling people to call me "registered nurse" instead of just "nurse".

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