Why doesn’t my middle school have an athletic trainer?

Currently, no state law requires that a certified athletic trainer be employed by any primary or middle school. In fact, only 42% of high schools have any access to athletic training services. School finances are usually to blame for this. In 1998, the American Medical Association recommended that a certified athletic trainer be part of the athletic medical team of any school that mounts a sports program. Many organizations including the American Academy of Family Physicians encourages high schools to have, whenever possible, a certified athletic trainer as part of the high school athletic program, but no middle schools have been included in the specific wording of any recommendations. Many states have now passed laws that dictate the care student athletes receive before returning to play from a concussion and implementing heat illness prevention programs, but do not mandate that these services be performed by an athletic trainer. As state and national attention continues to increase on awareness, education, and prevention of catastrophic injuries in youth sports, hopefully more school districts will make the commitment to athlete safety and hire a certified athletic trainer to provide medical services to middle schools, as well as, high schools. Also, as a student or parent, it is your right to propose to your town school board that an athletic trainer is needed for your athletic program.
(This answer provided for NATA by Timothy Hansen, MS, ATC, CSCS.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.