California State Assembly Bill Aims to Protect Youth Athletes

February 2, 2010

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ — With approximately 7.5 million high school students participating in sports today, the dangers of kids getting seriously hurt and not receiving appropriate care isn’t just a possibility – it’s a reality – and the consequences can be deadly.

On Wednesday, January 27, Assemblymembers Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward and Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, with the California Athletic Trainers’ Association, presented AB 1647, a California State Capital bill calling for increased safety precautions for young athletes.

The bill is co-authored by Senator Tony Strickland, R-California; and state Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Joan Buchanan, D-Almo; Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles and Lori Saldana, D-San Diego.

“It’s our responsibility to ensure we provide our kids a safe environment to participate in athletics,” says Hayashi. “That means making sure there’s proper safety equipment and qualified staff available to react to any and all emergencies.”

Studies show a significant increase in catastrophic injuries resulting in death or permanent disability. In the last academic year, 40 secondary school athletes suffered life-altering injuries and over 125 youth athletes died, including 18 in California.

AB 1647 requires:

  • Department of Education to adopt a heat-acclimatization program established by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) or another similarly recognized organization
  • A written emergency action plan
  • On-site availability of a regularly maintained and tested AED
  • Any athlete suspected to have sustained a concussion must immediately be removed from activity; evaluated by a licensed physician/athletic trainer under the direction of a licensed physician; and, receive written clearance from a health care provider before returning to play
  • Title protection for athletic trainers requiring them to:
    • Graduate from an accredited college/university athletic training program
    • Pass an examination approved by the Board of Certification
    • Meet the continuing education requirements defined by the Board of Certification

“Having an athletic trainer on-site can mean the difference between life or death,” says Beth Mallon, founder, Advocates for Injured Athletes, whose son fractured his neck during a school lacrosse game. “We were fortunate to have a staff athletic trainer who realized the severity of Tommy’s injury – otherwise Tommy would not be with us now.”

Brain injury, heat illness and sudden cardiac arrest are just a few of the serious conditions suffered by young athletes on the playing field, and athletic trainers are educated to manage such catastrophic injuries. More than stereotypical ankle tapers, athletic trainers’ are physical medicine specialists who provide prevention, recognition, clinical assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning of such injuries and illnesses that are sustained during activity.

Nationwide, only 42% of high schools have athletic training services. California is one of only three states that does not regulate the athletic training profession.

“This is just the first step in state protection of youth athletes and recognition of the athletic training profession,” says Mike West, President of the CATA. “Our ultimate goal is to have an athletic trainer in every school, at every game and at every practice.”

Earlier this month, both the NATA and CATA spearheaded the Alliance to Address the Youth Sports Safety Crisis in America with the support of 29 leading health care and sports organizations. Visit http://www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org/ for more information.

For more information about the CATA, visit http://www.ca-at.org.

    CONTACT: Jean Walcher / Jacqueline Edelman, JWalcher Communications
             jean@jwalcher.com / jacqueline@jwalcher.com, 619.295.7140

SOURCE California Athletic Trainers’ Association

Source: newswire

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