California has more than 800,000 high-school athletes playing sports, yet the state does not require schools to have athletic trainers at practices or games—Just 25 percent of public high schools employ a full-time athletic trainer.It is the only state that does not regulate the profession of athletic training.
Anyone can call themselves an athletic trainer, whether they are certified or not; regardless of whether they possess the educational qualifications, clinical experience or medical knowledge to practice.This puts student-athletes at enormous risk.
How many parents assume the athletic trainers in charge of their child’s safety are qualified to oversee his or her care? Athletic directors might not even be aware if their athletic trainer is certified or not. There’s nothing that mandates certification. Sometimes parents and volunteers assume the role, as do coaches, who are CPR and First Aid certified and must take a sport-specific concussion course and sudden cardiac arrest training. But they are not medical health professionals.
Athletic trainers are healthcare providers who focus on the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. They are not gym trainers or physical therapists or chiropractors.Injuries, concussions, heat stroke, cardiac arrest, can happen at any second and immediate response is critical.
CIF data indicates that both public and private suffer from a shortage of athletic trainers. However, some of the lower socioeconomic sections (Oakland, L.A. City, Northern) report only 9 to 13 percent of schools having a certified athletic trainer. More affluent sections (San Diego, Southern, San Francisco) report having the largest percentage of schools having an athletic trainer at 60 to 77 percent.
What will it take for students to be protected? The CIF should consider allocating money from the media broadcasting deal that was signed with Time Warner now Spectrum as well as Fox Sports. These broadcast partners signed a lengthy deal to stream online and televise high school sports. Shouldn’t some of that revenue be spent to ensure the safety of the student athletes?