A new piece of legislation signed into law on Friday could represent new peace of mind for athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals.

The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act provides legal protections for athletic trainers who provide care to athletes when traveling outside of the state in which they are licensed. Essentially, the law removes barriers to athletes getting care from athletic trainers that were created by liability concerns.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association, in a release, spelled out the changes under the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act as follows:

  • Athletic trainers 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 treats medical services rendered in the secondary state as occurred in the primary state if the secondary state’s licensure requirements are substantially similar to the primary state.

The legislation received bipartisan support in Congress and was endorsed by a number of sports and medical groups such as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the NCAA, the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology and every major American professional sports league.

“While this bipartisan law advances safety practices for all sports medicine professionals, it will greatly impact athletic trainers who routinely travel with teams to provide preventative and immediate care,” NATA president Tory Lindley said in a release. “It recognizes, at an unprecedented level, the integral and lifesaving role athletic trainers, as well as all sports medicine professionals, play in athletic health care.”

You can read the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act in its entirety here.

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.