One of the top priorities of a Certified Athletic Trainer’s job is the concern for athlete safety.So many Nebraska athletic trainers are excited to see the newly proposed legislation LB 260. This bill will address concussion education and management for the many athletes who participate in high school athletics, club sports, and competitive or recreational athletic events.
“Diagnosing a concussion is more than holding up two fingers or asking an athlete to follow your finger with their eyes,” says Jessica O’Neel, Public Relations Chair for the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers Association (NSATA).
O’Neel points out the profession of athletic training is frequently confused with personal training, so the public and other health care providers often do not understand that athletic trainers are health care professionals who have emergency knowledge and intervention skills, including expertise in the prevention, assessment and management of head injuries.
If this bill passes, Nebraska will join nine other states that have already passed similar legislation. Rusty McKune, President of the NSATA, is one of many people who have been working diligently toward this type of legislation.
McKune explains there are many professionals who are trying to keep athletes safe when head injuries are sustained and he is excited that he and the NSATA are able to be a part of this movement.
“I feel strongly that athletic trainers have valuable expertise in the area of concussion management and this is a key first step to ensure our young athletes are being evaluated by qualified health care professionals, such as physicians and certified athletic trainers prior to returning to activity,” McKune expressed. He went on to add, “Making sure athletes have access to these health care professionals will be our next challenge.”
If passed, LB 260, proposed by State Sen. Steve Lathrop, would go into effect by July 1, 2012.
To learn more about the NSATA, visit www.nsata.org. Parents, athletes, coaches, and school officials can learn more about athletic trainers’ roles in sports injuries and concussion management and about the unique set of qualifications held by athletic trainers by visiting www.nata.org.