District Director Update-July 2015

District 5 Director Mark Coberly
District 5 Director Mark Coberly

Dear District 5 Members,

Change is in the air. This summer has seen pivotal changes affecting the planning, the direction, and the future of athletic training, as we change our degree-level for professional education of ATs. We will also see change in important procedures, which affect the health and welfare of our athletes and patients with spinal injuries. In addition, I’ll discuss some changes in how communications will be utilized at the national and district level. I recognize that some of this information is known to some of us, but in my role as District Director, it is my mission to ensure that I provide our membership with these important updates.

The decision to move to a Master’s degree for entry-level professional education was a change as significant as any in the profession’s history.  The decision was made after 2.5 years of investigation by all four of the profession’s strategic partners (Strategic Alliance) and, in the end, it was unanimously decidedStrategic Alliance that the profession needed to change. This change enhances the profession’s position for progress, and to meet the educational demands required to be a viable resource, in the medical care system.  The specifics on the change are forthcoming later this summer, and will obviously impact many in this profession.  A more detailed statement can be found on the NATA website or by clicking the picture above. Change is necessary, but never easy.  The NATA realizes this, and is putting together resources to help assist members with the change.  It has only been a couple of months since the announcement, but has already seen benefits with positive feedback from physician organizations, professional and collegiate sports organizations, and other areas surrounding the profession. The feedback has been consistent, all echoing that this change will enhance the skills and reputation of the profession in the eyes of the medical community and the public.

Another major change is in the recommendations for the pre-hospital care of the spine injured athlete.  These changes will have a great impact, and have been established to provide the best care for the patients we serve.  If you aren’t aware of the changes, please refer to the Executive Summary of the upcoming inter-association task force full report.  This change will require advance communication between athletic trainers and emergency care personnel, and is a change in the procedures, which have been preached and done for years.  Changes in equipment removal and spinal movement restriction recommendations are being implemented by all organizations involved in the task force, but are being implemented at different intervals.  The upcoming year will be challenge for all, as these changes are implemented nationally.  Advanced communication of all parties will be essential to avoid conflict in care on the field and to ensure the best care for the patient.  Make sure to contact your local EMS crews to discuss the changes and everyone’s responsibilities prior to the start of the season. You can also go to the MAATAD5 website and social media, or follow this link, to watch videos from the NATA Press Conference detailing the changes.

Before I close, I may mention even more changes coming, which include how the NATA will communicate with its members in the future. We can expect to see targeted communications, specific to work settings. Each member can then choose to  receive information on areas which most interest or relate them or their respective setting.  The NATA is changing in effort to better meet the needs of, and provide the best service and benefits to, its members.  Likewise, I intend to change how we communicate important information to the District 5 members on national issues by providing monthly updates.  Therefore, we will change the format of the District Director’s report at the District and National meeting, shortening the report to only new information and include time for member discussion on important issues.

          “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” -Charles Kettering

I am honored to represent the members of District 5 on the NATA Board of Directors, and thank you for the opportunity to serve.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding the NATA, please contact me at coberley@iastate.edu.  If I don’t have an immediate answer for you, I will find those that do and respond appropriately.

Enjoy a little time for yourself prior to the start of the madness of the fall sports season.  Good luck and good health!



Mark Coberley, MS, ATC, LAT, CSCS, PES, CES
District 5 Executive Director