BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Athletic trainers are considered the first line of defense against injuries on the field, including concussions.
"The big part of our job is prevention, but also if they are on the field and they do get hurt - the student athlete - then we're the fist responders right there that can evaluate them," said Ryan Krzyzanowicz, Director of Athletic Training Education at the University at Buffalo.
The New York State Athletic Trainers' Association is looking to improve student-athletes' safety with a bill that would insure athletic trainers are licensed. New York is one of four states where athletic trainers are certified but not licensed.
"The goal of the Athletic Training Practice Act is to update our practice act that hasn't been updated in over 25 years," said Riana Pryor, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Professor at UB. "And we want to make sure that every thing that an athletic trainer is allowed to do is updated with our current education and guidelines moving forward."
Pryor said there's nothing in the guidelines that talks about neurological conditions, like concussions.
"Athletic trainers have to be certified by the Board of Education," said Sarah Krzyzanowicz, Director of Clinical Education at UB. "But a licensure is a higher level of that. So there's going to be more checks to make sure that the person has graduated, and meet all the requirements to be an actual certified athletic trainer. And someone from off the street just can't call themselves an athletic trainer."
Ryan Krzyzanowicz said the legislation would close a loophole, and prevent anyone from calling themselves an athletic trainer unless they went through strict requirements.