The availability of a full-time certified athletic trainer on staff at a high school may reduce the overall and recurrent injury rates among female soccer or basketball players.
Schools with athletic trainers may also better identify athletes with concussion, according to a study published in Injury Epidemiology.
Results from the study, which compares injury rates in schools that have an athletic trainer with those that do not, suggest that recurrent injury rates were six times higher in girls’ soccer and nearly three times higher in girls’ basketball in schools without athletic trainers.
“Our results are significant because currently only about a third of high schools have access to a full-time athletic trainer,” says study co-author Cynthia LaBella, MD, Medical Director of the Institute for Sports Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“The positive impact we observed is likely because athletic trainers are licensed healthcare professionals who work with coaches and athletes to apply evidence-based injury prevention strategies, and they are able to recognize and manage injuries when they happen, which may reduce severity or complications,” she adds, in a media release from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
LaBella and colleagues analyzed data from two injury-reporting systems, for high schools with athletic trainers and for those without, over a 2-year period. They found that overall injury rates in both girls’ soccer and basketball were significantly higher in schools without athletic trainers. Recurrent injury rates were six times higher in girls’ soccer and nearly three times higher in girls’ basketball in schools without athletic trainers.
The study also found that concussion rates in both sports were significantly higher in schools with athletic trainers, the release continues.
“Although rates of concussion were lower in schools without athletic trainers, it is unlikely that fewer concussions are occurring in these schools,” LaBella comments.
“More likely, concussions are reported more often in schools with athletic trainers because these professionals are better skilled than coaches and athletes in identifying signs and symptoms of concussions and remove athletes with suspected concussion from play until they can be evaluated and cleared for return by an appropriate healthcare provider,” she adds.
[Source(s): Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, EurekAlert]