U.S. House approves legislation protecting athletic trainers

September 13, 2016 / Sports Medicine


The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 921), sponsored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA), which protects athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals who travel out-of-state with an athletic team to provide care. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Trainer_Wrestling“NATA is proud to have championed this legislation that will not only benefit our 43,000 members and the millions of patients they serve, but that will also support health care professionals all over the country, including our initial partners in this effort, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM),” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC.   

H.R. 921 clarifies medical liability rules for athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure they’re properly covered by their liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams in another state. Under the bill, health care services provided by a covered athletic trainer or other sports medicine professional to an athlete, athletic team or a staff member in another state will be deemed to have satisfied any licensure requirements of the secondary state. In addition, the providers will be able to treat injured athletes across state lines without the fear of incurring great professional loss. This bill reinforces the sports medicine team collaborative approach to care among physicians, athletic trainers and others. It is also vital in light of playoffs, championship games and college bowl games where teams travel a great distance with little notification.

“H.R. 921 addresses a unique problem that sports medicine professionals face when traveling with their teams out of state,” said Rep. Guthrie. “There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the legal protection for these practitioners who are licensed and covered by malpractice insurance to practice in their home state, but may not be covered when they travel to another state for a game, tournament or other sporting event. H.R. 921 clarifies that these professionals can provide quality and timely health care for injured athletes without putting their personal and professional lives at risk.” 

NATA is excited that the House of Representatives has decided to take action on this important legislation and continues to work tirelessly to advocate on behalf of athletic trainers and athletes. This summer during NATA’s annual Capitol Hill Day in Washington, DC, more than 400 athletic trainers representing 48 states met with members of Congress to advocate for this legislation. This initiative alone garnered 17 additional bipartisan co-sponsors. 

“This is truly a milestone for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the athletic training profession, as well as other health care professions that will benefit from our leadership role in moving this legislation forward,” said Sailor. 

For additional information on the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, including a link to encourage senators to vote “yes” on the legislation, visit www.nata.org/advocacy/federal/bills-we-support/sports-medicine-licensure-clarity-act.

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