Testimony in Opposition To An Act Relative to The Practice of Athletic Training Committee on Public Health

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) wishes to be recorded in opposition to H.1142/S.1263, “An Act Relative to the Practice of Athletic Training.”

H.1142/S.1263 would broaden the scope of practice for athletic trainers by allowing athletic trainers to treat all injuries, not just athletic injuries; replaces the word “athlete” with “patient” thus allowing athletic trainers to treat any patient, not just athletes; strikes the word “temporary” before splinting and bracing; and changes an athletic trainer’s current requirement to work “under the discretion of a physician” to “in collaboration with physicians or dentists.”

Current law limits the practice of athletic training to schools, teams and organizations.  According to the National Association of Athletic Trainers, the goal is to expand into “specialized health care that provides preventative programs, immediate and emergency care, and rehabilitation.”  These bills are a bold step in that direction and, if passed, would pave the way towards independent practice and third party billing.  The extent and type of education and clinical training of athletic trainers does not safely warrant an expansion of their scope of practice to encompass the treatment of nonathletic injuries.

Thousands of athletes are expertly cared for on and off the playing field by athletic trainers under the supervision of physicians. The MMS feels strongly that the physician led team approach is the gold standard of health care.  We see no reason to change that relationship at this time.  

We urge the Committee on Public Health to report H.1142/S.1263 out of committee ought not to pass. 

 

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