Ohio House Discusses Revising Athletic Trainer Rules

by Andy Berg for Athletic Business

May 27, 2020

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.”

Athletic trainers help schools bring athletes back with new health, safety recommendations

by Meghan Mongillo & Stephanie Kuzydym, WKRC

Tuesday, May 26th 2020

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Mike Gordon is looking at a whole new ball game -- one with no history and no concrete rules.

Gordon is the Greater Cincinnati Athletic Trainers Association president, which oversees all the athletic trainers in the area.

Gordon, who an athletic trainer at St. Xavier High, said everything from the way athletic trainers interact with athletes to how drills are conducted will be different.

“This is not business as usual,” Gordon said. “It cannot be business as usual. It cannot be the same thing we did last summer and the summer before that because this is a completely different ballgame.”

On Friday, the OHSAA released recommendations for summer workouts for school sports. The five-page document outlines three phases, which will require things like pre-screening and temperature checks.

It does not address whether an athletic trainer should conduct those contact screenings.

Phase 1, which allows no more than 10 people, including a coach, at the workout, began Tuesday.

OHSAA Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass told us right before the guidelines were released, though, that athletic trainers are an essential part in sports' comeback.

“Everything from temperatures taken to looking daily at the signs and symptoms -- who’s more important and who is better qualified,” Snodgrass said.

Even Brian Reinhart, St. Xavier’s athletic director, asked the sports medicine staff to advise on guidelines.

“We want to listen to the experts throughout this whole pandemic,” he said. “I think that’s really been important.”

Together with the recommendations from the state, the county, the archdiocese and the OHSAA, St. Xaxier administrators are making a school-specific policy. Reinhart understands that some athletic directors may be getting a push to return, as well as a pull to hold off.

“If we can’t follow the guidelines then we’re not going to do it. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “You can’t be too safe in a pandemic.”

Phase 1 recommendations cover everything from a pre-workout screening, limitations on gatherings, facility cleanings, physical activity, athletic equipment and hydration.

During Phase 1, all coaches and students have to be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Gordon created a survey for the area’s athletic trainers to send to their athletes so they can answer the pre-workout screening questions before arriving on site.

During Phase 2, up to 50 people may gather for outdoor workouts with social distancing in place.

During Phase 3, workouts may also move indoors with social distancing still in place.

Each phase is 14 days. Gordon's hope is that if administrators and health care professionals collaborate, no one will have to go through another season without sports.

“Let’s try to do this right because we get one shot