Athletic training students from the University of Lynchburg were in Richmond this week to advocate for laws that would improve safety and health for athletes.
They participated in the Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association “Hit the Hill” day, which brings the profession together to meet with representatives in the Virginia General Assembly. Students in the Master of Science in Athletic Training program, as well as two undergraduate students, joined their professors for the trip.
VATA asked them to help promote two proposals. House Bill 1930 would require periodic updating of guidelines for treating athletes who have suffered a concussion. This “will assure that local school divisions have the most up-to-date information on how to safely assist students recovering from concussions,” according to a policy brief by VATA.
Currently, “there’s no timeline for when [concussion guidelines] should be revisited,” athletic training professor Dr. Tom Bowman said. “This bill is to update those policies. Every legislator we talked to was totally on board with that.”
The other proposal, House Bill 1931, would update Virginia’s regulatory definition of “athletic training” to indicate that athletic trainers work in areas beyond sports. Athletic trainers are becoming “primary healthcare providers for athletes and the physically active in many occupations,” Dr. Pat Aronson, another athletic training professor, said.
“It’s important that our state practice regulations evolve as the profession evolves,” she said. “We went to Richmond this week to educate our legislators on who we are as athletic trainers, what we do as health care professionals, and what changes we need … to best serve our patients in Virginia.”
The faculty joined the statewide event because advocacy is an important part of the MSAT program, which prepares students to work as certified athletic trainers. “It was a fun day and I was proud of the students who were professional and energized by the activity,” Dr. Aronson said.