The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the NCAA have joined a chorus of others asking Governor Brown to license athletic trainers. They cite the serious risks posed to athletes, athletic trainers and their employers due to the unlicensed status of athletic trainers in California.
“An increasing number of states have made it illegal for an unregulated athletic trainer to practice for any period of time within the state,” says the NCAA and others. As a result, athletic trainers who treat their athletes while in those states, as well as their employers, expose themselves to legal and financial consequences because they’re practicing outside the law.
California is the only state in the country that doesn’t regulate the athletic training profession. Presently, anyone in California can call themselves athletic trainers. “Unfortunately, California athletes and family members are often unaware of individuals representing themselves as ‘athletic trainers’ without the requisite education. These individuals are managing serious injuries such as concussions which can lead to negative consequences. Without a licensure system, there is no avenue for keeping these individuals from calling themselves athletic trainers,” says Dr. Cindy Chang, a sports medicine physician from UCSF and past president of AMSSM.
Mike Chisar, chair of the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) Governmental Affairs Committee, further underlined the important need of licensing athletic trainers as soon as possible. “Athletic trainers in California do not have a state sanctioned scope of practice. Every day this places athletes in harm’s way and athletic trainers and their employers, including tax payer supported institutions, in a legal grey area.”
The CATA is hoping to work with Governor Brown in passing Assembly Bill 1510 – licensure legislation written by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) – which would outline requirements to become an athletic trainer and define the scope of practice for the profession that is consistent with 49 other states.
In addition to the NCAA , AMSSM and AOSSM, the legislation has strong support from others including the National Federation of State High School Associations, CIF section commissioners, athletic trainers for major professional teams and Division I colleges, and leading sports medicine experts.