NYS Athletic Trainers’ Association to Hold 2nd Annual Athletic Training Recognition Week to Promote Sports Safety

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Following a successful inaugural event last fall and on-going sports safety public awareness campaign, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) is holding its 2nd annual “Athletic Training Recognition Week” from Friday, October 17 through Sunday, October 26, 2014. It is the hope of NYSATA that by promoting events like this throughout the year, the importance of establishing thorough emergency protocols and providing appropriate medical personnel, such as a certified athletic trainer (AT), will be recognized at levels of athletic participation.

AT Recognition Week logo

By publicly recognizing their ATs from Friday, October 17th through Sunday, October 26th with PSAs and social media, schools can take a proactive role in promoting sports safety.

Athletic Training (AT) Recognition Week should help demonstrate and publicize the vital need to provide appropriate medical care for all athletes, beginning with youth and school sports teams, by recognizing certified athletic trainers (ATs) and the unique skill-set they possess to effectively fulfill this role. The ten-day event is for schools to show their communities and the sports world at all levels that they value and take pride in providing quality care for their athletes, as well as encouraging public awareness of the importance of taking safety measures during sport-related events. By publicly recognizing their ATs from Friday, October 17th through Sunday, October 26th with event-specific Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and social media, including a “Who’s Your AT?” Twitter contest, schools can take a proactive role in promoting sports safety.

While the inherent risk of injury in athletics has always been understood, research and statistics from the past few decades has revealed the critical need of taking appropriate measures for sports safety – including providing qualified medical and healthcare management, such as a certified athletic trainer. With their education and experience in injury prevention, recognition, and emergency management, ATs can help identify potential hazards and risks to address before they cause injury, as well as observe and evaluate injuries as they occur, knowing how to properly distinguish more severe conditions and handle these situations when they arise.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports statistics that, each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions, among children and adolescents, from birth to 19 years old. Over 70% of these visits are middle school- and high school-aged athletes. Within this age group, these brain injuries most often occurred during football or bicycling for boys and during soccer, basketball, or bicycling for girls. The Youth Sports Safety Association (YSSA) reported over 30 sport-related fatalities of youth athletes in 2012 and 2013 (down from nearly 50 and over 100 from the two previous years, respectively) and already at least 10 deaths in 2014 so far - seven from HS football, with three of those occurring within a one-week span.

These statistics hit closer to home, as there have been at least three deaths in New York State in the past two years related to sport-related brain injuries sustained during high school football alone. Prevention, in the form of appropriate preparation, planning, and providing of medical care, can help to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the severity of the outcomes in many of these cases.

Certified athletic trainers (ATs) are well-educated, highly skilled healthcare providers who, among other things, can be a valuable resource in regard to sport-related injury and illness recognition and management, as well as overall health and safety. Ideally, school districts, including boards, administrators, teachers, and PTAs, those involved in sport-related activities, and other associated medical and healthcare providers will recognize the many advantages of employing an athletic trainer and look to ATs and NYSATA for consultation and assistance with health and safety issues related to athletics.

Along these lines, NYSATA has developed connections with various athletic, school, and medical organizations in NYS, including the NYS Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), gaining representation on their Safety & Research Committee, as well as the Brain Injury Association of NYS (BIANYS) and The Second Impact (Ray Ciancaglini, founder) to jointly promote concussion awareness. NYSATA representatives were also integrally involved in the development of the Guidelines for Concussion Management in the School Setting which correspond to the NYS Concussion Management and Awareness Act (enacted July 1, 2012).

At both national and state levels, ATs have also partnered with the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) (concussions/sport-related brain injury), the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) (sudden death in sport), and Parent Heart Watch (sudden cardiac emergencies/death) for the awareness, prevention, and management of various life-threatening injuries, illnesses, and conditions in sport and recreation. Additionally, NYSATA has done outreach and presentations at various in-state conferences, including the NYS School Board Association (NYSSBA), the Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP), NYS Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons (NYSSOS), NYS Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS) and NYS Athletic Administrators Association (NYSAAA).

In its inaugural year, Athletic Training Recognition Week 2013 had reported participation from nearly 20 colleges and universities, over 15 secondary schools and districts, as well as the Buffalo Bills organization – a great start, but results that can certainly be surpassed this year. With the support and participation of athletic departments and sports organizations across New York State, sports safety will be brought to the forefront and certified athletic trainers (ATs) will be recognized for continually providing quality healthcare to their athletes.

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 NYS. Athletic training is practiced by certified athletic trainers, 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
@GO_NYSATA
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