COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Athletic trainers in New York have been on a decade-plus-long mission, and could possibly see results soon.
“You know, until we get that licensure, people might not recognize athletic trainers for the health care providers that we are,” said Aimee Brunelle, South Colonie school district athletic trainer and wellness coordinator. She has a Masters degree, a board of certification (BOE) credential, and 26 years of experience, but she’s not licensed in New York. She’s not the only one.
“There isn’t any licensure in New York state for athletic trainers,” Brunelle explained.
New York is one of four states nationwide that doesn’t require licensure for athletic trainers. For more than a decade, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association has been working to change that.
“We’ve been really pushing for this legislation. We want to get it done this year,” said Assemblywoman and former Michaelle Solages, who is the bill’s sponsor along with Rachel May in the senate.
“[Athletic trainers’] scope of practice is antiquated,” said Solages.
Brunelle agrees. “Our practice act is 30 years old.”
The Athletic Training Licensure Act would bring terminology up to date, reflect the higher level of education required in the profession currently, and protect people who are active. For example, at the high school level, the state education department already requires public school athletic trainers to be nationally certified.
“But our other environments where athletic trainers might be working such as colleges, youth sports, the military, there is no such protection,” said Brunelle, “and anyone can call themselves an athletic trainer.”
Uncredentialled care could lead to harm.
“I mean, we could have somebody, allowing somebody that has clear signs of concussion return to a game,” added Brunelle, “and we see things like second impact syndrome and the long-term affects of concussion.”
If the bill were to be passed, athletic trainers would need to apply and pay a fee for licensure. However, the continuing education already required to maintain their BOC credentials would exceed what the state would mandate for licensure.
The bill is still in committee, but Brunelle hopes it lands on to the agenda and is passed this year.