VATA Holds Annual Conference; Highlights Importance of ATCs at All Levels

January 23, 2023 / Athletic LeaderPlayer SafetySports Medicine
The Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (VATA) held its annual conference over the weekend and used the gathering to localize the events of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest two weeks ago.

One of the main takeaways highlighted at the VATA conference was the overall importance of athletic trainers at levels of athletic competition.

vataA recent story from detailed the events of the VATA annual conference and how Hamlin’s on-field medical emergency has impacted the athletic training community.

Below is an excerpt from the story.

“We are the first line of emergent care with our student-athletes on the field,” Mike Kotelnicki, president-elect for VATA said.

Kotelnicki said that education about the importance of athletic trainers starts at the high school sports level.

“In the state of Virginia, we still have about 30% of the high schools that don’t have a first line of defense for medical conditions that happen on the field, in the weight room, or at practice,” he said.

Kotelnicki said athletic trainers do more than wrap and ice minor injuries. They are state-board certified and require a master’s degree.

“We take care of cardiac conditions, sickle cell conditions, heat exhaustion, all these things that are life-threatening,” he said.

The CPR Damar Hamlin was given by the athletic trainers on the sidelines after his collapse on the field helped save his life, according to experts.

“The tragedy brings the education. A young man is paralyzed on the field, we have a bone sticking out of a leg, all these things, and the athletic trainer is the first one there,” Kotelnicki said.

Now that a light has been shined on the importance of having athletic trainers on the sidelines of every sport at every level, VATA leaders say the field is expanding.

To learn more about athletic trainers visit VATA’s website. And to read the full story from, click here.