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New California State Assembly Bill 864 Would Require Athletic Trainers to be Licensed
Bill Prevents Unqualified Individuals from Practicing a Health Care Profession
SAN DIEGO – April 24, 2013 – In California, anyone can call him/herself an athletic trainer – no education or certification required – giving consumers, athletes and administrators a false sense of safety.
The California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) along with Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), wants California to do what 48 other states already do – regulate the athletic training profession.
Passed with an affirmative 11 votes by the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection (BPCP) yesterday and headed to the Appropriations Committee, AB 864, otherwise known as the “Athletic Training Practice Act,” is a cost-neutral bill that would regulate athletic trainers and prohibit any person without the proper credentials from engaging in the practice of athletic training.
“Athletic trainers save lives – it’s as simple as that,” said Mike West, president of the CATA. “But until the state acknowledges the important role we play, young athletes and others may continue to be at risk. They could be under the supervision of someone who may not be qualified to recognize or respond to a life-threatening injury or illness – and not even know it.”
Athletic trainers are uniquely qualified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists who work at schools, hospitals, military facilities, clinics, corporations and more. They provide acute injury treatment, a continuum of care from injury and illness prevention and return-to-activity clearance for athletes and other physically active individuals.
Despite the vital role athletic trainers play in our safety, the lack of regulation creates a great risk that people who have lost or are unable to obtain licensure in other states will come to California to practice, putting the public in danger and degrading the standards of the profession as a whole.
Nowhere else is this more crucial than at the secondary school levels. As kids begin to specialize in a particular sport there has been a growing incidence of serious injuries and complications resulting from overuse and intensive over-training.
Recent studies show a significant increase in catastrophic injuries that have resulted in death or
permanent disability of youth athletes. From 2008 to 2011, at least 40 California students have died due to sports-related injuries – many of whom might have been saved if there had been a qualified athletic trainer on-site.
Dr. Cindy Chang, immediate past president for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and co-chair, California Concussion Coalition, Northern Chapter, said, “There is no question that this bill would help protect our young student athletes by ensuring that those providing medical care to these children, after they have suffered sports related trauma such as concussions, are properly trained and educated.” Chang also served as the head team physician, UC Berkeley from 1995 to 2008 and Chief Medical Officer for the 2012 US Olympic Team.
The bill is designed to be cost-neutral (meaning no cost would be passed onto taxpayers), with all fees associated with applications and renewals covering the costs of maintaining the bill. Essentially, athletic trainers will be paying for their own licensure.
AB 864 would directly impact the safety of athletes and consumers by mandating specific requirements for licensure:
- Must have completed athletic trainer certification eligibility requirements from an athletic training education program at a four-year college or university approved by the Athletic Training Licensing Committee
- Must pass a comprehensive nationally accredited certification exam approved by the Athletic Training Licensing Committee
- Must possess an emergency cardiac care certification
- Pay application fees established by the Athletic Training Licensing Committee
The bill would also specify that a license expires in two years and is subject to renewal upon payment of a renewal fee and the completion of continuing education hours in order to keep athletic trainers’ knowledge and skills current.
About the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA):
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the provision of physical medicine and rehabilitation services, serving as physician extenders in the prevention, assessment and treatment of acute and chronic injuries and illnesses. The California Athletic Trainers’ Association (http://www.ca-at.org) represents and supports 2,200 members of the athletic training profession through communication and education.