West Virginia Tweaks AT Guidelines, Public Weighs In

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The West Virginia Board of Education recently approved new qualification guidelines for football athletic trainers in the state. 

In tweaking Policy 5112, the Board mostly revised language that was already on the books. However, some important changes were made at the margins. One such change is that counties may not employ an applicant in good faith based on an anticipation that he or she will be eligible for certification.

Still, that didn’t stop members of the public — particularly concerned athletic trainers — from registering complaints with existing policy, specifically with the notion of “limited football trainer authorization.”

For the sport of football, TV station WHSV reports that instead of full time athletic trainers, counties can seek “limited football trainer authorization” to allow for contracted medical professionals to act as an on-site care provider during games.

The policy says that a “limited athletic trainer” can be any one of the following: a physician, a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a nurse practitioner, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a physician’s assistant, a paramedic oran emergency medical technician.

The board unanimously approved the changes despite numerous comments — many from certified athletic trainers — arguing that allowing non-certified individuals to obtain “trainer authorization” puts athletes at risk, while others argued that it was unfair to allow a special status specifically for football. 

“Limited football trainers do not have the same education and skillset when compared to an athletic trainer,” Brittany Domingo wrote in one public comment. 

“The use of a limited football trainer places the health and safety of football players at risk,” wrote John Roberts, Jr. in another. “It also completely disregards the safety and well-being of student-athletes participating in other high school sports.”

Many comments were dismissed under the rationale that they did not reflect any of the changes the Board was actually voting on.

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