DALLAS, September 5, 2018 – The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) announces relationship with Sidelined USA, a nonprofit organization that supports athletes who have been permanently sidelined due to career-ending injury, health condition, or repeat concussion and inspires them to find a meaningful way forward. Both organizations share a commitment to the physical and emotional well-being of these athletes.

Sidelined USA, which launched nationally in February of this year, was founded by Cade Pinalto, a teen athlete sidelined by a heart condition, and his mother, Executive Director Christine Pinalto. They identified a lack of resources available for sidelined athletes and their parents and together, they started Sidelined USA to support these athletes in making the mental shift towards acceptance and to inspire them to re-engage with the sports world through alternate avenues.

The relationship will provide NATA members with research-based resources, advocacy and best practices to assist in the psychological recovery of patients who face a medical disqualification (MDQ) from athletic participation due to injury or health condition. Through its 45,000 membership base, NATA will help support the expansion and growth of Sidelined USA’s outreach and programming, as well as encourage its members to get involved as volunteers and mentors. 

Because athletes who have been through a MDQ are at high risk for further mental health implications, providing athletic trainers with special resources to support a healthy psychological recovery is extremely valuable. This relationship will ensure NATA members have access to this vital information and a place to refer their MDQ athletes for specialized support. Through Sidelined USA’s program, permanently sidelined athletes and their families are offered free coping resources, social support, and mentorship opportunities.

The relationship is believed to be the first of its kind to offer this type of support resource to health care providers on a national level. Since many athletic trainers do not have previous experience with medically disqualified athletes, this program offers a direct value to NATA members to help them improve their patient care.

Medically disqualified athletes can expect to go through a grieving process as they adjust to their new limitations. According to Sidelined USA, the process comprises seven stages of grief and transition: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance. Research reveals athletes who can no longer participate in their sport due to career-ending injury can experience a range of emotional responses including: grief, identity loss, anxiety, fear, loss of confidence, depression, alcohol and opiate abuse, suicidal thoughts, and diminished life satisfaction years later. (Alfermann et al., 2004; Lally 2007; Pearson & Petitpas, 1990, and Kleiber & Brock, 1992.)

“We are excited about this new relationship with Sidelined USA that aligns well with NATA’s strategic initiatives,” says NATA President Tory Lindley. “It reinforces our commitment to improving patient care by assisting sidelined athletes in holistic recovery. This program also provides opportunities for athletic trainers to be mentors, and to educate on how ATs impact work, life and sport.”

“At Sidelined USA, we recognize athletic trainers as some of the most influential members of the sidelined athlete’s support network. While participating in the physical recovery of the sidelined athlete, the athletic trainer is uniquely positioned to also impact the athlete’s emotional recovery,” says Christine Pinalto, Executive Director, Sidelined USA. Medically disqualified athlete and Sidelined USA President, Cade Pinalto adds, “Permanently sidelined athletes often struggle with identity loss when their sport is taken away from them and can feel helpless and alone as they face their new reality. It is important that the support network surrounding the athlete is prepared to help the sidelined athlete recover on both a physical and psychological level.” 

NATA members who want to become involved can volunteer as Sidelined USA brand ambassadors and mentors to help permanently sidelined athletes make a healthy adjustment and stay involved in the sports community through alternate avenues.

 

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 45,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit www.nata.org. At Your Own Risk is NATA’s public awareness campaign designed to educate, provide resources and equip the public to act and advocate for safety in work, life and sport. In an effort to provide comprehensive information, the association has launched a website that provides recommendations on keeping student athletes and communities active and employees safe on the job. Visit www.atyourownrisk.org.  

About Sidelined USA

Sidelined USA is a non-profit that serves student-athletes nationwide who have been permanently sidelined due to injury, health condition, or repeat concussions, and inspires them to find a meaningful way forward through resources, connections, and mentorships. The organization was created by Cade Pinalto and his mother, Executive Director Christine Pinalto after Cade was permanently disqualified in seventh grade and found personal healing a few years later through a mentorship in coaching. To learn more about Sidelined USA or to support this unique program, visit www.sidelinedusa.org.