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West Virginia Votes to License Athletic Trainers

Andy Berg Headshot

Athletic trainers in West Virginia got some welcome news over the weekend after the House voted to approve Senate Bill 60.

A group of athletic trainers watched the vote from the West Virginia Athletic Trainers Association Conference. The group erupted in cheers at the bill’s passing, which licenses athletic trainers in the state.

“The licensure means that we're now licensed healthcare providers in this state,” athletic trainer Stephanie Clark to the Charleston Fox affiliate.

Clark said the new law has been 40 years in the making.

“Just like your EMTs, your physical therapists, your doctors - they all had licensure. In West Virginia, we had registration. That didn't allow us to be regulated,” Clark said, noting that licensure will ensure that athletic trainers really know their stuff.

Clark said the real winners are the student-athletes and their parents.

“It's like sending your kids to the pool, they want a lifeguard there. You want someone who knows concussions, what the signs and symptoms of heat illness is, somebody that can take care of a cramp the right way, not just saying, 'Eat this banana.' It's something parents are excited for," Clark said.

Right now, under West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission regulations a healthcare provider is “only required to attend high school varsity football practices and games." 

Bill 60 will now head back to the Senate and it should reach the Governor Jim Justice’s desk later this week.

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