BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Athletic trainers and lawmakers alike are calling for legislation that would better protect student athletes.
Across the State of New York, athletic trainers expressed that want to be seen. This is why they joined lawmakers to call for passage of new legislation that would recognize athletic trainers as licensed and not certified, Tuesday morning.
The bills are Senate Bill S2023B and Assembly Bill A5044A.
"Neither our scope of practice, nor our educational standards in New York State have been updated in law to reflect the profession's advancement, since 1993," New York State Athletic Trainers' Association (NYSATA) and New York University (NYU) athletic trainer, Arturo "Roy" Flores said.
The bill would also expand who can be trained in concussion management at the public school level, in an effort to make school sports safer.
"We will require all schools to have a concussion management team and to have established return-to-learn as well as return-to-play protocols, because students are student athletes and we use that term loosely sometimes, but students first. Athletics are second," Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) pediatric psychologist Dr. Andrew Hess said.
NYS Senator Rachel May said, "The more we learn about the long term effects of some of the athletic injuries we are seeing on the field, the more we need the work of athletic trainers and we need you to be licensed to do the important work that you do."
Advocates of the bill said this is a matter of life and death.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) said each year, traumatic brain injuries in New York result in more than 2,000 deaths, 19,000 hospitalizations, and more than 112,000 emergency department visits.
New York Yankees Director of Medical Services, Steve Donohue said, "In baseball, there is a rare injury that usually happens in youth baseball. The average age of this injury is a 15-year-old boy. It's called kimono kurtis. It's an impact to the chest. It can come from a baseball, it can come from a hockey puck, it can come from a steering wheel but it changes the rhythm of the heart."