The Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Barriers to Caring for Student Athletes

Bill Has Already Been Passed By House of Representative, Will Advance to Be Signed By President Trump

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

DALLAS, TX â€“ The Senate passed the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act today, which provides legal protections for sports medicine professionals, such as athletic trainers, when traveling outside their primary state to care for student athletes. This is a positive step toward reducing barriers when caring for student athletes. 

In many states, no legal protection is provided for sports medicine professionals whose job requires travel outside of their primary state (where they are licensed), because medical liability insurance carriers do not cover activities performed while outside the boundary of the primary state. As such, providers are at great personal and professional risk by not having the benefit of medical liability insurance. 

“NATA proudly and fully supports the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act and has committed significant efforts to support its passage,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC.

The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, first introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the Senate and Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-2) and Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-2) in the House, aims to alleviate legal barriers and preserve athletes’ and athletic teams’ access to high-quality health care services provided by athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals. 

Under the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act:

  • Sports medicine professionals can engage in the treatment of injured athletes across state lines without fear of great professional harm, such as loss of license to practice, while protected from monetary loss with professional liability insurance.
  • Health care services provided by a covered sports medicine professional to an athlete, an athletic team or a staff member of the team outside of his or her home state would be deemed to have occurred in the professional’s primary state of licensure.
  • This legislation simply treats medical services in the secondary state as occurring in the primary state if the secondary state’s licensure requirements are substantially similar to the primary state. 

The legislation also has received the backing of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology and numerous other physician and sports medicine organizations. Additionally, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committees, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and every major American professional sports league has endorsed the bill.

The bill will now advance to President Trump for signature.


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