Baker’s Athletic Training Bills Passed by Senate

HARRISBURG – Two bills modernizing the capabilities of athletic trainers in Pennsylvania were passed by the Senate today, according to the sponsor, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).

Senate Bill 559 and Senate Bill 560 would give athletic trainers the ability to deliver a wider scope of health care services to more individuals.

In the current law governing athletic trainers, the definition for invasive procedures is undefined and subject to strict interpretation. This can prohibit life-saving techniques such as using an epi-pen or administering a rescue inhaler or insulin. The bills clarify that under a written protocol with a licensed physician procedures such as blister and nail care, administration of Naloxone, and certain medication injections can occur. The bills would also expand the definition of a physically active person to include an individual who participates in a sport, athletic competition, performing art, recreational activity or military exercise.

“In Pennsylvania, athletic trainers are health care professionals who are board-certified and licensed. They deliver their services under the supervision of a licensed physician. However, their scope of practice is limited to exclusively assisting physically active individuals,” Baker said. “The existing definition is outdated and overly restrictive. These bills aim to modernize the definitions to accurately represent the current education, training and certification of athletic trainers, while prioritizing patient safety. Importantly, the services would continue to be administered under the guidance of a physician.”

“Athletic trainers genuinely value Sen. Baker’s recognition of having qualified medical professionals practicing according to their highest capabilities. These bills are crucial as they increase needed access to health care services in the commonwealth by better defining the populations and procedures that athletic trainers are educated to handle in their medical studies,” said Gregory Janik, clinical professor and athletic trainer with the King’s College Athletic Training program. “Pennsylvania currently has 23 accredited athletic training programs – the highest in the nation. These updates will allow graduates to stay and work to their fullest education and capacity right here in Pennsylvania rather than seeking employment in other states.”

The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society and numerous other health care groups and providers support the bills, which now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Jennifer Wilson

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