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Pa. Schools Double National Average of Athletic-Trainer Coverage

The percentage of Pennsylvania high schools with access to a licensed athletic trainer continues to rise and outpace the rate in other states, according to a new study from the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers Society.

Nationally, only 42 percent of secondary schools have access to licensed ATs, according to the National Athletic Trainers Association. In Pennsylvania, during the ongoing school year, 86 percent of high schools reported having access to an AT, according to the study. That's an increase from 81 percent during the 2010-11 school year, and more than double the national average.

In total, 36 more high schools in Pennsylvania have access to ATs this year after not having them around last year. In two of the districts in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, every high school has access to a licensed AT this year.

"This marks a significant commitment by school districts to insure student-athletes have proper on-site health care despite challenging economic times," the organization said in a statement.

PATS noted that the increase in athletic-trainer access could be correlated to the bills signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett at the end of 2011, which recognize ATs officially as licensed health-care professionals.

Ultimately, ATs can be instrumental in helping schools get a handle on ongoing concussion crisis in youth sports. The National Football League late last year announced that it would be stationing a certified AT in the press box of every NFL game to keep an eye out for possible injuries—a move that "has created tremendous awareness of the importance of proper injury care for athletes and the important role that ATs play in that," according to NATA President Marjorie Albohm.

For more on the difference between athletic trainers and personal trainers, read this brief from the National Athletic Trainers' Association.

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