District Director Update February 2016

District 5 Director Mark Coberly
District 5 Director Mark Coberly

It’s February – Temperatures are Rising and Things are Heating Up with the NATA!

Spring is just around the corner, and with spring comes an attitude of newness and promise. Much work has been done this winter to set the stage for new initiatives and a very exciting spring and summer for the athletic training profession. If you haven’t been able to keep up with weekly updates from the NATA, the following are several items you should be aware of and may be want to participate in as the profession continues to evolve and advance.

NATA Internal and External Marketing Initiatives Ramp Up

Following a year where the NATA saw over 5 million media exposures, several initiatives are expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016. This will include a release of the new NATA website for members. The new web interface will allow for targeted communications for members based on individual interests and/or work settings. There will also be a complete overhaul of the external athletic training website www.athletictrainers.org. This will include a section for self-risk assessment by organizations, teams, or individuals, and how athletic training resources can help them. Recommendations following the self-assessment will include interactive up-to-date statistics on best methods to minimize risk including the benefits of the AT.

We are only a few weeks away from March and National Athletic Training Month. The NATA website provides many ideas for grass roots marketing of the profession. Please consider adopting a minimum of one project to promote the profession where you live and work. Grass roots marketing is one of the most important ways for the profession to become more universally recognized. Public relations projects to raise awareness of the profession to local community, school, and governmental officials lays the ground work for more opportunities for members of the profession.

NPI Numbers

Getting members to sign up for NPI numbers continues to be a focus nationally. Having a significant portion of practicing athletic trainers with NPI numbers is an important step in recognition at the federal level for many initiatives including reimbursement. It’s fast, easy, and can be done through links at www.nata.org/NPI . Our District has lagged behind other districts in registering for an NPI number. Though you may not bill for services, having an NPI number is a big assist to the profession, and imperative for advancement and recognition of the profession on a federal level.

Physician Extender Terminology

The NATA will discontinue using the term “physician extender” in all materials related to that particular work setting. While use of the term was originally developed to gain recognition of athletic trainers in this setting, it does not represent the individual’s role or qualifications in this area. Other health related professions which have used this terminology are eliminating it as well. The NATA is encouraging all ATs in this setting to refer to themselves appropriately as Athletic Trainers in the medical clinic setting. It is felt that further advancement of the profession in this and other clinical settings will have better success with elimination of this vague descriptor.

Partnership with Korey Stringer Institute

The NATA will announce a partnership and financial funding for research in athletic training topics with the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn. The KSI has already performed joint projects with the NATA including the ongoing ATLAS (Athletic Training Locations and Services) project which will identify athletic training service availability at every secondary school in the US. Other initiatives have included the recent NATA Position Statement on Exertional Heat Illness, Malignant Hyperthermia Professional Round-Table Discussions, the Youth Sport Safety Governing Bodies meeting, and others. This funding cooperative will insure ongoing research at KSI dedicated to the areas of athlete sport safety in partnership with the NATA.

Federal Legislation Affecting Athletic Trainers is Gaining Momentum

The NATA continues to be actively involved in federal legislation protecting the practice of athletic training and working for improvements in health and safety of athletes. Legislative efforts include, but is not limited to:

The Sports Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 921/S. 689): The NATA has joined with a number of other professional sports health organizations to introduce legislation to provide legal protection for athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals practicing across state lines. Many states do not provide legal protection for athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals who travel to another state with an athletic team to provide care for their team. Medical liability insurance carriers do not cover athletic trainers when they travel with their team to a state where they are not licensed. This legislation provides legal protection for athletic trainers and other sports medicine professionals who deliver care to athletic teams across state lines.

The Secondary School Student Athletes Bill of Rights (H.RES. 112 and S.RES. 83): The Resolution is NATA’s number one legislative priority in the 114th Congress. As you know, the Resolution outlines 10 best practices that any school in the country can implement and make their school safer. It encourages
secondary schools to take all available and reasonable measures to ensure student athlete safety.

Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (H.R. 829/S. 436): Known as the SAFE PLAY Act (H.R. 829 and S. 436), the bill proposes a multidisciplinary approach to research and federal support to ensure student athlete’s safety in schools. It provides assistance to school districts in developing and implementing concussion safety and management teams and plans. It also offers a common-sense approach to keeping students safe, increasing surveillance efforts for life threatening cardiac conditions in children, recommends guidelines for the development of emergency action plans, develops and disseminates information about health risks linked to excessive heat and humidity, and develops information and guidelines on energy drink consumption.

The NATA will be “Hitting the Hill” in Washington D.C. during the Baltimore Convention. Watch for more information in the NATA Range of Motion regular updates.

NATA Leadership Academy

The StarTracks leadership program will be phased out this year and publicity for a new leadership program will begin soon. The NATA will offer a reconfigured leadership program which will focus on leadership skills as well as business and association operation. The new program will be less reading intensive than StarTracks, and will involve the ability to earn CEU’s as well. New content will include materials to be read as well as multimedia educational tools and will conclude with the candidate completing an “externship” where they will apply leadership skills and principles through the NATA and various committees. Current StarTracks participants will be allowed to complete their program. If you are interested in this new program, watch for release details coming soon through the NATA Range Of Motion.

Power 5 Conferences pass NCAA Legislation Which Impacts the Profession

Recent legislation by the Power 5 Conferences have made provisions for each institution being required to name a director of medical services (it is thought that this will most often be an athletic trainer), and that physicians and athletic trainers have autonomous authority for all medical decisions and be housed in an administrative structure where they do not report through any coaches. It is likely that this will cause a trickle-down effect and become standard practice for most colleges and athletic organizations who employ athletic trainers.

NATA Foundation 25th Anniversary

There will be multiple initiatives and projects to celebrate the NATA Foundation’s 25th anniversary. The NATA Foundation is a strategic partner for the profession and plays a vital role in funding research and providing scholarship opportunities for aspiring athletic trainers and researchers. If you haven’t donated to the NATA Foundation please consider it. Many members are choosing to support the Foundation through small monthly automatic withdrawals or charges to credit cards. Most donations to the Foundation can be tax deductible. For more information on donations to the NATA Foundation, see their new website.

NATAPAC and Foundation Giving

Financial resources are needed to fund ongoing NATA efforts at the Federal level. This is done by fundraising or donating to the National Athletic Trainers Association Political Action Committee (NATAPAC). Most health related professions have PACs and are highly funded by their members to protect their profession’s interests in Washington D.C. The NATA is no different. Consider putting in a donation to NATAPAC, or join in the NATAPAC fundraising efforts at your District or State meeting.

Honoring Athletic Trainers Going the Extra Mile

Finally, special congratulations go to the following District 5 members who will receive NATA awards this summer in Baltimore.

NATA Hall of Fame

Eric McDonnell – Missouri

NATA Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award

Rick Burkholder – Missouri
John Donnell – Missouri
Katherine Newsham – Missouri

NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award

Sara Bjerke – North Dakota
Brian Hughes – Missouri
Morgan Simpson – Missouri
Scott Winslow – Missouri

There are many awards offered by at the National, District, State, and committee levels. Honor a peer by nominating them for an award to thank them for their contributions to the profession when nomination periods are open.

As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding the NATA and national initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I welcome all input, feedback, and ideas from members. I hope to see many of you in Springfield, MO at the MAATA Annual Meeting in March.


NATA District 5 Director