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Ohio House Discusses Revising Athletic Trainer Rules

Andy Berg

The Ohio House Health Committee is considering a bill that would update the rules and regulations for athletic trainers.

In its first meeting since the COVID-19 shutdown, the House Health Committee took up House Bill 484, which was introduced back in February by local representative Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township).

Two athletic trainers and a physician spoke in favor of the bill last week but also added that it must be updated before it can be voted on.

“There have been three major athletic training educational changes since the enactment of our state license in 1991,” Brian Hortz, the director of research and education for Structure and Function Education told WKRC.

The new rules would also address the fact that Ohio athletic trainers are unable to practice a lot of what they learn in school - like how to administer NARCAN or an EpiPen.

“Students ask questions like, ‘If I have a choice between saving a patient’s life and following the state practice act, which one do I chose?’” said Dr. Mark Merrick, the director of Ohio State University’s Athletic Training Division. “This bill helps us get rid of those kind of dichotomous situations and helps lets us do the skills that we need when our patients need them.”

The legislation aims to allow athletic trainers to have more autonomy, as current law requires athletic trainers to work with a physician. Hortz said athletic trainers are currently at risk of losing their license if they were to administer a life-saving treatment, such as NARCAN or an EpiPen, without consulting a physician.

“It’s only meant to strengthen the team,” said Dr. Ben Bring, an OhioHealth Family and Sports Medicine physician. “In healthcare – now more than ever – we need everybody to be working together.”

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