Connecticut Legislators Hear Testimony on Causes of Athletic Trainer Shortage

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Legislators in Connecticut heard from athletic trainers who reported that increased education requirements have hastened a shortage of available, certified athletic trainers in the state. 

According to CT.com, higher standards for athletic trainers, who since 2015 have needed to earn master's degrees to qualify for state certification and licensing, have resulted in a shortage of the professionals on sports fields, as many are leaving school and college programs for other health care opportunities.

Athletic trainers who addressed the Legislative Public Health Committee on Monday made the case that the additional time and expense to earn the graduate diplomas is a symptom of what has been a 20-year-long decline in the number of trainers, whose presence on the sidelines is crucial to diagnosing and immediately treating game-related injuries.

Those in attendance favored the creation of a task force to study the issue, especially recruitment and retaining athletic trainers at a time when poorer, urban school districts are in need of them, giving wealthier suburban districts the advantage. 

" As many of you are aware, the COVID-19 epidemic had a significant impact on both the number of educators and on the number of health care professionals leaving their profession," said Stephen Straub, president of the Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association. "Athletic training, especially at the secondary school level, is a unique combination of these two areas and the result has been a significant challenge for secondary schools to hire athletic trainers. A number of hospital-based or physical therapy-based athletic training service providers have had to drop high school contracts as they have been unable to find employees."

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