- have graduated with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university athletic training program and have completed certification requirements for a nationally accredited athletic training certification program.
- pass a comprehensive exam approved by a state-enacted Athletic Training Licensing Committee.
- possess an emergency cardiac care certification.
- pay application fees established by an Athletic Training Licensing Committee. The cost of maintaining that committee would be covered by the licensing fees, West stresses, ensuring no cost to taxpayers.
The following recounts a the efforts of a “Certified Athletic Trainer” who saved a lacrosse players life:
In May 2009, Tommy Mallon was playing in his final high school lacrosse game for Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach, Calif., when he collided with an opposing player as both were scrambling for a bouncing ball. The hit initially appeared innocuous, yet Mallon felt a slight numbness in the back of his head. While his impulse was to get up and return to the game, Riki Kirchhoff, an onsite certified athletic trainer, refused to let him. Instead, she placed Mallon on a spineboard and had him transported by ambulance to a nearby trauma center.
There, doctors discovered that Mallon’s neck was fractured and that one of his vertebral arteries had been dissected, allowing blood to leak out of the artery and form a dangerous clot. “If he had gotten up and turned his head, he could very well have dropped dead right on the spot,” says Mike West, president of the California Athletic Trainers’ Association. “Athletic trainers save lives; it’s as simple as that.”
Mallon, who underwent months of treatment and therapy, will never play contact sports again. But because a certified athletic trainer saved his life, Mallon and his mother, Beth, have dedicated themselves to ensuring that every high school in the United States has access to a certified athletic trainer through Advocates for Injured Athletes. The organization’s San Diego-based location is noteworthy because California is one of three states that do not even regulate the athletic training profession. (Alaska and Hawaii are the others.)