Athletic trainers have been in demand over the past few years, with the rush of states passing youth concussion laws and guidelines for sideline protocols. Trainers in some states are legally required at most college and high school athletic events.
However, those same athletic trainers are not always welcome. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that some college football athletic trainers recently have lost their jobs because of clashes over concussion treatment.
The Chronicle report said more than a dozen athletic trainers have been fired or demoted in recent years. Also, the report said very few trainers would go on the record about the subject for fear of losing their jobs. A few did speak about the issue, but they did so anonymously.
Among the issues for some trainers is to whom they report. If it's the head football coach -- as 11 say in the survey -- then it can cause a conflict of interest.
The report said conflicts of interests are so frequent that the issue was addressed at the National Athletic Trainers Association convention in July. That's where the group announced a set of guidelines in an attempt to help the students more than the coaches in areas of recovery. The emphasis was on having the training staff report to medical professionals rather than to coaches.
But Brian Halinline, the NCAA's chief medical officer, said the NCAA's powers are limited in the chain of command around an athletic department.
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor