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Ohio bill could expand athletic trainer impact on treating injuries

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Posted at 7:54 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 07:54:46-04

An Ohio bill that expands an athletic trainer’s ability to help athletes received unanimous support last week as it’s the first update regulating athletic trainers in three decades, the Journal-News reports.

House Bill 176 would allow licensed athletic trainers the option to enter into a collaboration agreement with a physician or podiatrist to allow that athletic trainer to perform additional services and activities. The bill is jointly sponsored by Reps. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., and Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Twp., and received 95 votes in support on May 5.

Hall said the bill “modernizes the practice act for Ohio’s athletic trainers in order to better reflect current practice and changes in athletic training education and training.”

Carfagna said what athletic trainers are learning now “does not match up with what they are permitted to do in the real world.”

“As we explore ways to stabilize healthcare costs and identify effective pain management techniques, particularly in response to the opioid crisis, expanding access to the expertise provided by athletic trainers will help to keep Ohioans of all ages and abilities healthy and active,” he said.

The state has more than 2,300 licensed athletic trainers, and Hall said “we should be able to fully utilize athletic trainers and their modern-day skills.” Licensed athletic trainers can provide physical medicine and rehabilitation healthcare and partner with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

The bill also makes changes governing the practice of athletic training, including allowing for referrals to athletic training from additional practitioners.

“The collaboration agreement between athletic trainers and physicians provides team-based care that is far stronger than any individualized care,” said Dr. Benjamin Bring, who is the medical director for the OhioHealth Capital City Half and Quarter Marathon, among other roles. “Our goal is to supplement the care we are providing, and we are not replacing physicians. The medical team in sports medicine is always stronger when athletic trainers are involved.”

He said the Capital City Half Marathon, which attracts more than 14,000 runners, has a medical team of 70 to 80 healthcare personnel. More than half, he said, are athletic trainers “because of their abilities and training with multiple medical issues including heatstroke and hyperthermia, cardiac arrest and CPR, exertional associated collapse, and many other first aid skillsets.”

House Bill 176 was introduced into the Ohio Senate on Thursday and has not yet been assigned a committee.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9 News.