California high schools are lacking in qualified athletic trainers to attend to student-athletes, according to a report from Fox 40, Sacramento’s Fox affiliate.
The Golden State is home to over 800,000 high school athletes but law in California does not require high schools to have athletic trainers at practices and games.
California Interscholastic Federation director Roger Blake said it’s a problem that needs attention. "Absolutely, we have to fix it. It is alarming because health and safety questions on the sidelines of a football game, or about concussions, or in a gym at a volleyball match are being made by coaches and not a medical professional," Blake told Fox 40.
The CIF is hoping to address the problem through an education outreach for principals and superintendents that will stress the importance of having certified athletic trainers on staff. For most schools, cost is the most prohibitive factor, as salary for a trainer can cost between $50,000 and $100,000.
Oak Ridge High School athletic director Stephen White was skeptical of any requirement that schools hire a trainer. “I don't know how you dictate to a business that you must have this, and you must have them pay for it,” White said. “So, if you look at it from a business standpoint I think it's hard. From a 'want' standpoint, absolutely."
Even if schools were forced to hire an athletic trainer, California doesn’t require that athletic trainers be certified, which means that anyone can call themselves an athletic trainer.
According to Fox 40, legislation on the matter is currently making its way through the State Capitol.