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EXETER, NH — The ongoing discussion about whether having a full-time Athletic Trainer in high schools is beneficial or not is more important than you might think.

Athletic trainers are certified health professionals that provide training in injury prevention, physiology, nutrition, and first-aid. They are able to asses an injury the moment it happens, provide rehabilitation exercises, strength and conditioning programs, and provide a sense of security to athletes, parents and coaches.

Most schools face the constant struggle to find room in their budget to provide a full-time Athletic Trainer to their student athletes. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, only 55 percent of athletes at public high schools have access to a full-time athletic trainer. Unfortunately, sometimes the necessity gets lost in the never ending need for budget cuts.

A 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that high schools with ATs have lower injury rates. Schools that don’t provide an athletic trainer have recurrent injury rates that are 5.7 times higher than those athletes who do have access to a trainer full time.

We spoke with some athletic trainers and student athletes in the area about this need.

“One of the main reasons an AT is so important is because without their presence many concussions would go under the radar and not be assessed and diagnosed correctly.”  Mikaela Harding, ATC, NHLAT, Winnacunnet High School

“Having an Athletic Trainer at the high school affords the athletes the opportunity to receive high quality medical treatment at the moment of injury. The importance of this is not only getting the athlete the appropriate help they need, but also helps to alleviate high medical costs.” Amanda M. Canning, Certified Athletic Trainer, Timberlane Regional High School

“Besides just providing medical assistance when a player goes down, the Athletic Trainer can provide rehabilitation and strength programs for the athlete to safely return to sports. I know as a student athlete having the access to an Athletic Trainer at all times allowed me to feel a sense of security when ever I experienced a new injury. I knew I could get immediate medical care and learn ways to rehabilitate the injury in order to get back on the field.” – Brittany Mosier, former Student Athlete, Portsmouth High School

“An athletic trainer is someone a player views as a trustworthy adult. They encourage high school athletics to be as successful as possible by making sure student-athletes are healthy and prepared for practices and games. I view my athletic trainer, Lauren, as a role model, loyal friend and a vital part to my high school’s athletic program.” – Izzy Pafford, Student Athlete, Portsmouth High School

At Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics we agree having an Athletic Trainer on hand full time is essential for student athletes. That’s why we’ve placed four full time athletic trainers in several schools around the seacoast, including Exeter High School, Winnacunnet High School, Portsmouth High School and Timberlane Regional High School. To learn more about our Athletic Trainers, click here.