Premium Partners

Club Sports Injury Highlights Athletic Trainer Blind Spot

Jason Scott Headshot

When West Union (Ohio) Club football player Trent Heater was knocked to the ground by a helmet-hit to the ribs during a game, his health and safety were the first concern.

EMTs were called to the scene, but ultimately the junior was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital to treat what was later determined to be fractured ribs.

The EMT at the scene had determined that the school was unequipped to properly treat Heater on the field, and determined that it was necessary to transport him to a new location.

Once Heater had been tended to, questions began to crop up, particularly around the issue of athletic trainers and where they ought to be deployed.

According to TV Station WKRC, West Union High School’s football team doesn’t operate under the school’s athletic department. Rather, football is a club sport — which means in this case that everything the team has is donated. The school employs an athletic trainer to work school-sanctioned sports, but club sports don’t apply. 

The Heaters were stuck with the bill for their son’s helicopter flight — a $40,000 expense — a number which, as the TV station points out, aligns with the base salary of an athletic trainer. 

Ohio State University professor Carl Maresh, who heads the exercise science lab within the university’s Department of Human Sciences, told WKRC that the risks inherent to certain sports should be taken into account, regardless of under which umbrella they operate.

“You have the same potential problems and the same potential dangers or risk associated with a club team as you do a sports team associated with a high school,” Maresh told WKRC. “If you’re going to make the huge investment of having a football team, for example, then I think that it behooves the administration or those making the decisions to decide whether or not they’re going to provide that in the safest way possible.”

What do you think? Should school athletic trainers be deployed to work club sports events? Let us know in the comments or vote on Twitter.

Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show