This last weekend was the beginning of the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships, and the NCAA wrestling championships, just to name a few events. Every one of those teams had an athletic trainer with them. Every one of those athletic trainers gave up time with their families so that they could be there for their athletes. That sacrifice is one that is part of the athletic trainer’s job, but they do it because of their sense of responsibility to their athletes.
The team athletic trainer is responsible for the safety and well being of all of their athletes. This begins with the usual pregame tapings and treatments, so that they can have their athletes as ready as possible to safely play at their best. The next part of their job is to be ready for any injuries that may occur during the game and make a qualified decision as to whether it is safe for them to return to the game and provide any taping, bandaging, etc that may be needed for their safe return. If it isn’t safe for the athlete to return then they still care for the injury. None of this is something a coach is trained for or is it safe to entrust the coach to do.
More importantly though, they are there, and ready for true medical emergencies. These can include concussion, an athlete whose heart is no longer beating, or has stopped breathing, or has a spinal cord injury, or gone into diabetic shock, or so many other life threatening injuries, and of which, if they happen, the athletic trainer is prepared for and instantly cares for. Again, not something a coach is qualified to handle.
This is fantastic for college athletes to have this standard of health care that is provided by having an athletic trainer available for them at all contests and practices. Why is it that we don’t provide the same for our youth athletes?
Less than 42% of high school athletes have access to an athletic trainer, and almost no youth leagues have one to cover their contests. Youth athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to injury, but yet no steps have been taken to help ensure their safety. There is currently a petition, actually a second petition because the first failed to get enough support, that is currently trying to change this. It takes less than a minute to register and sign, and you will not get repeated emails from them if you do register. Please, take a minute, and sign. The child’s life that you help save, may be your own.
Ensure all youth athletes have proper medical care. **(petition failed)