More than 47% of schools in California do not employ an athletic trainer, study shows

Photo: Ed Wright

More than half of California schools either don’t employ an athletic trainer or don’t have a fully qualified person in that role, according to a study.

The study, published this week in the Journal of Athletic Training, which is the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s peer-reviewed scientific publication, found that over 47% of schools in the state do not have an athletic trainer. An additional 7% of schools employed unqualified health personnel for that position.

Among the schools that have an athletic trainer, only 13% reported employing a full-time, year-round position for the job.

“Currently in California, anyone, even if they have zero medical experience, can call themselves an athletic trainer. This should be a major concern to parents,” NATA President Tory Lindley said in a statement.

There is also a disparity between the types of schools that employ trainers. Schools that employed athletic trainers were more likely to be public (50.6%).

“One wrong decision could leave your child paralyzed forever,” Lindley said in a statement. “That is how serious this is. There is no room in organized sports for this level of risk. Our athletes deserve better.”

California is the only state that doesn’t regulate athletic training. However, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) introduced a bill that would require an athletic trainer or person using a certain title or terms to be licensed by the California Board of Athletic Training.

“California doesn’t regulate athletic trainers and as a direct result we’re seeing too many unnecessary injuries, disabilities and even death,” Bonta told Yahoo in September.

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