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NATA President Emphasizes Vital Role that Athletic Trainers Play in Recognizing and Managing Concussions


On the heels of the Concussion Management and Awareness Act going into effect in New York State on July 1, 2012, and the concurrent release of the NYS Education Department (NYSED) compliance guidelines, the President of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) stressed the value of the athletic trainer (AT) in being the premier health care provider for student-athletes and the integral role that they play in concussion management when he spoke in Syracuse, NY earlier this month. These sentiments were emphasized by an increased interest by the NYSED to understand and recognize the athletic training profession and the unique niche that it fills in the healthcare field, as demonstrated by their consultation with the New York State Athletic Trainers' Association (NYSATA) in creating the Guidelines for Concussion Management and a visit to Syracuse University's athletic training facilities.

Syracuse, NY (PRWEB) October 30, 2012

National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) President, Jim Thornton, emphasized the value of the athletic trainer in caring for the overall health and well-being, including concussion management, of student-athletes during his visit to central New York on October 4-5, 2012. “It is the professional education, training, and mentorship that athletic trainers receive that makes them uniquely qualified to not only manage a student-athlete's injury and return him/her to activity in a safe and timely manner, but they also provide injury prevention and long-term wellness strategies in providing comprehensive health care to these active individuals,” said Thornton to an audience of Syracuse University (SU) athletic department officials and New York State Athletic Trainers' Association (NYSATA) members. “Because of the specialization of the modern athletic trainers' education and continuing education, the methods and techniques they perform on student-athletes are also invaluable to other patients and clients engaging in activities where injuries occur,” he continued.

The vital role that athletic trainers play in recognizing, referring, and implementing a return-to-play protocol for athletes who sustain a concussion was discussed by President Thornton on a local sports radio station, 1260AM WSKO, during a 15-minute interview later that day. He also called attention to the need for more athletic trainers at the secondary school level, as only approximately 42-percent of public high schools have access to a certified athletic trainer.

President Thornton's visit comes three months after the Concussion Management and Awareness Act went into effect for all public and charter schools in New York State. To assist school districts in being compliant with this law, the NYS Education Department, in consultation with NYSATA and other health care organizations, has released Guidelines for Concussion Management in the School Setting, in which athletic trainers play an integral role.

On October 2, two days before President Thornton's visit, the fall 2012 meeting of the NYSED's Committee for Athletic Training was also held at Syracuse University. Following the meeting, NYS Board for Medicine and Committee for Athletic Training Executive Secretary, Walter Ramos, and Education Credential Specialist, Kevin Kroencke, along with members of the AT Committee, were given a tour of the athletic training facilities by Tim Neal, an AT Committee member and Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine at SU. A first for many, they were able to see firsthand the range of skills that athletic trainers bring to their clinical practice and the value they provide as health care professionals.

NATA President Jim Thornton's visit and presentation, as well as the visit by NYSED staff brought attention to the value of athletic trainers as the premier health care provider to athletes. President Thornton's presence, knowledge, and vision had a great impact on the athletic training professionals in attendance, the administrators, team physicians, coaches, and student-athletes he met while in Syracuse, and to the central New York community through his local radio interview. For more information about the athletic training profession or the New York State Athletic Trainers Association, please view the provided attachments and visit us at:

The New York State Athletic Trainers' Association (NYSATA), founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of health care for the physically active in New York State. Comprised of credentialed and practicing athletic trainers, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the regional Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association (EATA) and District Two of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA).

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