Dirty Dozen: Athletic Trainer


December 4, 2017 10:28AM

Anybody who has ever called their health insurance company or has gone to the DMV knows, we have all been given the runaround at some point in our lives. Who hasn’t heard something like, “Oh, you’re in the wrong line. For that [insert: permit, license, form etc.] you have to go to Department X and wait in line there.” I shudder just thinking about it.

What would be even worse than this terrible experience is if this same situation happened with your doctor. Imagine waiting a week for a specialist appointment, sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms then waiting for the doctor to just be told, “Oh you broke your right arm? I only work on left arms. You’ll need to see this other physician.”

Well, there is one area where this does exist. In Tennessee, there is a license to be an athletic trainer. Not your trainer in a gym, but essentially a physical therapist for athletic injuries. That means you could have the same exact injury but how you injured it determines what type of licensed professional you would visit. Hurt your back in a car accident and need rehab? You see a physical therapist. Hurt your back playing a pickup game of basketball? You see an athletic trainer.

We do not need two different licenses for athletic trainers and physical therapists. What we should all agree on is you don’t need two different government bureaucracies to license these professions when the areas they impact are so similar. We do not need a licensing Board of Athletic Trainers charging Tennessee residents over $100,000 in fees last year and a Board of Occupational/Physical Therapy charging over $500,000 last year to accomplish such similar missions. These boards should be merged and save Tennesseans from an unnecessary headache.