The Athletic Trainer’s Skill Set – Part 4, Administration

27 Jan

The typical athletic trainer has a diverse skill set that they must constantly develop and hone.  This series of blog entries will seek to focus on the skill set that most athletic trainers possess in order to effectively do their job in the traditional setting.  Collectively, this skill set makes the AT a very valuable resource to the athletes, coaches and administration that they serve.

Part 4 – Administration (Collection of PPEs)

Athletic trainers can be responsible for many aspects of athletic administration.  Among these responsibilities are collection of Pre-Participation Physicals (PPEs), documentation of physicals and development of health and safety policies.  If these duties are not performed, the institution can be held legally liable for many situations that could arise. 

Athletic trainers at the college and high school levels are often asked to collect, log and store all the PPEs.  In most situations, the PPE is a legal requirement to play because of the common physical anomolies that a PPE can uncover.  Sickle cell trait, asthma, severe allergic reactions to bee-stings, heart abnormalities, etc. are many common issues that can affect  the athlete.  It is important that the coaches and support staff and the medical staff are aware of athletes with these issues because it can change how the emergency care that the athlete receives.  If a school allows a student to participate in a sanctioned sport without a physical, the school could be liable for millions of dollars if the athlete suffers an injury that could have been easily prevented by a PPE.   I have studied situations where a school was sued and lost because they allowed a basketball player to play basketball without a PPE.  The athlete subsequently died on the basketball floor due to an unknown heart issue that could have been uncovered by a PPE.  It is very important the institution requires all athletes to have a PPE before the season starts.   Therefore, the institution must designate 1 person to collect, log and store all those physicals.  That person must also notify the coaches who is eligible to participate so that they know who can and can’t participate.  At my school it is pretty simple.  I enter all the physicals into a spreadsheet and send the appropriate spreadsheet to each sport head coach.  If an athlete’s name isn’t on the list, they can’t participate. 

More on injury reports and policy development in another blog entry.

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