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What Parents Need To Know About School Athletic Trainers

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While the team is lifting weights or running through drills on the field, Dan Newman is busy taking care of their bodies. While the team is lifting weights or running through drills on the field, Dan Newman is busy taking care of their bodies.
Dan Newman is the head athletic trainer at Union High School. Dan Newman is the head athletic trainer at Union High School.
In Oklahoma, athletic trainers have to be licensed. You can go online to the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure if you think someone is not a licensed athletic trainer. In Oklahoma, athletic trainers have to be licensed. You can go online to the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure if you think someone is not a licensed athletic trainer.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The first line of defense if your child gets an injury on the sports field in an athletic trainer.

Many licensed trainers say parents and coaches have a misconception about what an athletic trainer can do.

While the team is lifting weights or running through drills on the field, Dan Newman is busy taking care of their bodies. Newman is the head athletic trainer at Union High School.

He said, with the fall sports season around the corner, it's important for parents, coaches, and players to know what an athletic trainer does and how they're different than a personal trainer.

"It's a huge difference, because we don't want parents to settle on someone that has no training," Newman said.

Newman said personal trainers play an important role in the sports landscape, but parents need to understand they're not trained to treat an injured athlete's body.

Athletic trainers, Newman said, know how to identify and treat concussions as well as heat related illnesses.

"There's so much more to what we do than taping an ankle or putting an ice bag on somebody," Newman said.

Athletic trainers, he said, must have a Bachelor's degree and many have a Master's. They're also required to take continuing education classes throughout the year.

In Oklahoma, athletic trainers have to be licensed. You can go online to the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure if you think someone is not a licensed athletic trainer. Search for their name and it will show if they're licensed and considered active.

"It's just like you or I can't go out and hold ourselves to be a medical doctor, it's the same thing with athletic trainers," Newman said.

A recent study by the University of Tulsa shows only 20 percent of Oklahoma schools have an athletic trainer.

Newman said that means more than 360 sports programs do not have someone looking out for the athlete's medical needs. He said that needs to change.

"It's the health and safety of our student athletes that's at stake here," Newman said.

He encourages every parent to make sure their school has an athletic trainer, and if you're worried about any qualifications, talk to your coach or athletic director.

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