Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) has announced legislation that would protect the public by requiring licensure for athletic trainers in California – the only state in the nation that does not regulate the profession. Under Assembly Bill 3110, individuals must be certified by the Board of Certification before they can call themselves “athletic trainers,” health care professionals charged with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses sustained by athletes and individuals of all ages, according to a press release by the California Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Currently, anyone in California – regardless of education or certification – can act as an athletic trainer, and treat serious injuries like concussions, with potentially dire consequences, including permanent disability and death.

“California is home to many championship sports teams at the collegiate and professional level, yet we lag behind all 49 states in regulating the athletic trainers who care for our athletes,” said Assemblymember Mullin. “Athletic trainers work with athletes and physically active individuals of all ages in a variety of settings, and are typically the first to respond to an injury on the playing field or on the court. Currently, anyone can act as an athletic trainer, regardless of their qualifications. Our student athletes at all levels deserve better and AB 3110 will implement licensing requirements for athletic trainers that are long overdue.”

California has more than 800,000 high school athletes, and it’s estimated that about 20 percent of individuals calling themselves “athletic trainers” and providing care to these athletes are not qualified – posing a hidden and significant threat.

“Most parents and guardians are not aware that these individuals are unqualified and may be placing their children in potentially perilous situations,” says Dr. Cindy Chang, a USCF clinical professor and past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. “Without the necessary certification, these individuals are deficient in the knowledge and implementation of health and safety best practices and policies.”

AB 3110 has strong support from the NCAA, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and over 35 other organizations. These stakeholders cite the serious risks posed to athletes, athletic trainers and their employers due to the unlicensed status of the profession.

“An increasing number of states – including Utah, Texas, Hawaii and Massachusetts – have made it illegal for an unregulated athletic trainer to travel to their state and work with their teams,” says Tom Abdenour, former head athletic trainer for San Diego State University and the Golden State Warriors. As a result, athletic trainers who treat their athletes while in those states, as well as their employers, expose themselves to legal and financial consequences.

“There is an urgent and compelling need to license athletic trainers in California,” added Abdenour. “AB 3110 is an important bill that will protect consumers from harm, as well as protecting athletic trainers and their employers from unnecessary liability – all at no cost to the state.”

For more information, those interested may visit http://ca-at.org/.

– California Athletic

Trainers’ Association