NYS Athletic Trainers Continue Outreach Education with Secondary School Athletic Directors

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The New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) again participated in the annual NYS Athletic Administrators Association conference in March, with representatives hosting an exhibit booth on sports safety awareness and a NYSATA member presenting an informational session on role and expectations of a certified athletic trainer (AT) in the school setting. These efforts ironically came during National Athletic Training Month (NATM), which is held each March to promote ATs and sports safety, and comes on the heels of NYSATA member involvement in a NYS concussion management roundtable held in Albany two weeks prior.

Lasinski and Knizek participated in 2014 NYSAAA Conference and NYS Concussion Management Roundtable

ATs can be a valuable resource, advocate, and member of a school’s sports safety management team.

For the past eighteen months, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) has taken on a highly proactive role as a sports safety awareness advocate in NYS by taking part in various conferences for school officials, medical professionals, and athletic personnel.

These efforts began in October, 2012 with the NYS School Board Association (NYSSBA) conference and have since included conferences for the Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP), NYS Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons (NYSSOS), Clinical Orthopaedic Society (COS), NYS Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS) and NYS Athletic Administrators Association (NYSAAA) – many for two years running. In addition, for the first time, NYSATA will participate in the Brain Injury Association of NYS (BIANYS) conference in early June of this year and is constantly looking to expand these efforts to new groups. Some groups of interest for the future include: school nurses, pediatric physicians, and parent teacher associations (PTAs).

For the second consecutive year, NYSATA participated in the NYS Athletic Administrators Association (NYSAAA) annual conference from March 12-14, 2014 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The educational session, presented by NYSATA member Mike Cendoma, MS, ATC, Director of Sports Medicine Concepts, Inc. (Livonia, NY), focused on what athletic directors can expect from athletic trainers (ATs) in a school setting – how ATs can be a valuable resource, advocate, and member of a school’s sports safety management team. Many of the questions from the athletic directors in the audience focused on how to justify the cost of an athletic trainer at their school as well as how an athletic trainer can benefit their athletic program overall.

NYSATA again hosted an exhibit booth to answer questions and disseminate information to attendees. On hand to provide information were NYSATA Secondary School Chair, Paul Lasinski, MS, ATC (Harborfields HS), NYSATA Treasurer, Dave Byrnes, MS, ATC (Yorktown HS), and Rick Knizek, MS, ATC (Shenendehowa High School East), in addition to Cendoma. Handouts included information on sports-injury statistics, how an AT can save a school money, how an AT can provide better safety, prevention, and athletic healthcare for student-athletes, and sample concussion management documents. Questions and comments at the exhibit booth focused on how, for those who employ one, an athletic trainer enhances the athletic department, as well as those who have unfortunately lost AT services due to budget cuts and certainly notice the void. Various discussions were had in how to hire and maintain an AT despite strict school budgets, including the various mechanisms for obtaining athletic training services, what services should be expected from a provider of athletic training services, the actual cost of an athletic trainer, insurance safety credits, and generating the demand from the [school] community.

Involvement in the NYSAAA Conference comes two weeks after Lasinski and Knizek participated in a roundtable about the 2012 Concussion Management and Awareness Act. The discussion, held in Albany in late February, was co-sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of NYS (BIANYS) and the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH). In addition to athletic trainers, the focus group included representatives from the NYSDOH, NYS Education Department (NYSED), NYS School Board Association (NYSSBA), and NYS Association of School Nurses (NYSASN), various physicians and neuropsychologists from across the state. Also in attendance was Ray Ciancaglini of The Second Impact, long-time concussion awareness advocate who works closely with both NYSATA and the BIANYS. Brian Rieger, PhD, Director of the Upstate Concussion Center at Upstate University Hospital (SUNY) facilitated the discussion, which focused on how the Concussion Management and Awareness Act is being implemented and any suggested changes that would make the law better, including the need for “return to academics / learning” considerations following a concussion. NYSATA representatives had previously presented on this topic, “Return to Academics Following a Concussion,” at the NYSSBA Conference in October, 2013.

NYSATA, founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training (AT) by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in New York State. Athletic training is practiced by certified athletic trainers (ATs), who have expertise in the assessment, emergency management, rehabilitation and prevention of acute and chronic sport-related injuries, illnesses and conditions, including concussions. Comprised of over 1,200 certified and practicing athletic trainers, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the regional Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) and District Two of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).

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Deanna Errico

Kristy Hart
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