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NATA Survey: COVID Protocols Not Closely Followed

Jason Scott

A survey conducted by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association revealed that college athletic trainers don’t believe student-athletes, coaches or staff are properly adhering to safety protocols for COVID-19. 

ESPN reports that the survey included about 1,200 athletic trainers from across college divisions. Among those surveyed, 59% said athletes were “somewhat” following COVID-19 safety protocols, while 46% said coaches and staff fell in the same category — indicating a belief among athletic trainers that protocols could be followed more closely. 

Athletic trainers are required to be licensed medical professionals in most states, and generally are responsible for athletic department safety protocols. Many athletic trainers are on the front lines within their programs, monitoring student-athletes for COVID-19 symptoms and guiding the route to recovery for those who become infected.

The survey included responses from 27% of NATA collegiate membership that received the questionnaire. 

“[Athletic trainers] and physicians continue to revise and adapt safety protocols as new best practices become available, yet it still comes down to a consistent, individual, human-by-human choice, to achieve success,” NATA president Tory Lindley wrote in an email to ESPN. “It will also take every member of the team — from players on the field to staff on the sidelines — to understand that noncompliance is not only a threat to the season but to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

From ABTory Lindley Talks Athletic Training Amid a Pandemic

Meanwhile, about 84% of the athletic trainers surveyed said that they believed their programs were either very or somewhat prepared to return to sports based on COVID-19 guidelines. Additionally, 90% said that their work environments were safe or somewhat safe. 

Lindley told ESPN the number of athletic trainers who don’t feel safe troubled him, saying he was “beyond concerned that any collegiate athletic trainer does not feel safe.”

In a release announcing the survey results, NATA recommended that programs establish, if they have not already done so, a task force of sports medicine professionals such as physicians and athletic trainers to oversee COVID-19 protocols, as well as compliance and accountability. 

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