Jenna Brossman / Jean Walcher
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Bill Supported by leading physician groups and many other healthcare and sports organizations
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 23, 2017) – Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) has announced legislation that would require licensure for athletic trainers in California – the only state in the nation that does not regulate the profession. Under Assembly Bill 1510, individuals must be certified by the Board of Certification before they can call themselves “athletic trainers,” healthcare professionals charged with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses sustained by athletes and individuals of all ages.
Currently, anyone in California – regardless of education or certification – can act as an athletic trainer, and treat serious injuries like concussions, which are considered mild traumatic brain injuries with potentially dire consequences including disability and death.
“Unqualified individuals are falsely representing themselves as athletic trainers to California athletes and their family members,” says Dr. Cindy Chang, a UCSF clinical professor and past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. “We’re aware of serious mistakes that have resulted from this lack of licensure. Even athletic trainers who have had their licenses revoked in other states can come to California to work since we have no regulatory body here.”
The legislation has strong support from the NCAA, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and over 25 other organizations. These stakeholders have written Governor Brown, citing the serious risks posed to athletes, athletic trainers and their employers due to the unlicensed status of the profession.
“An increasing number of states – including Utah, Texas, Hawaii and Massachusetts – have made it illegal for an unregulated athletic trainer to travel to their state and work with their teams,” says Tom Abdenour, former head athletic trainer for San Diego State University and the Golden State Warriors. As a result, athletic trainers who treat their athletes while in those states, as well as their employers, expose themselves to legal and financial consequences.
“There is an urgent and compelling need to license athletic trainers in California,” said Mike Chisar, chair of the California Athletic Trainers’ Association Governmental Affairs Committee. “AB1510 is an important bill that will protect consumers from harm, as well as protecting athletic trainers and their employers from unnecessary liability – all at no cost to the state.”