You don’t have to be an expert to understand the benefit of Athletic Trainers (ATs) and the crucial role they play in supporting prevention, recognition and diagnosis of athlete injuries. In the U.S., 1 in 3 high schools do not have access to ATs. Not only do ATs support athlete well-being, they can help save parents and organizations millions of dollars in health care costs. If each state employed a full time AT, they could save an estimated $14.7 million annually. But there is a caveat, in order to reduce costs, coaches and ATs must incorporate streamlined documentation, communication and record management of athlete data. How do you prove what you’re doing is working without proper documentation?
In 2019, South Carolina’s Greenville County Athletic Trainers streamlined documentation and communication of athlete data through quality improvement (QI) initiatives. ATs used an electronic data capture system to record all athlete data including injuries, exposures and health care services provided. The initiative reduced athlete injuries by 22% and health care costs by 50%. Similarly, another recent study found evidence that by improving children’s health, AT services in high schools may offer the potential to significantly reduce medical payments and utilizations.
Both studies offer substantial evidence that justify the imperative need for legislation to allocate funds for high schools to employ ATs to support avoidable medical costs.To best support athletes and lower health care costs to parents and organizations, focus on prioritizing Athletic Trainers, in-depth documentation and streamlined communication. Remember, how will you prove that what you’re doing is working if you can’t refer back to the facts? To put it simply, the value is inarguably invaluable.
Click here in case you missed last week’s blog about documentation and data collection.
Hambleton, MSA, AT, ATC, M., Smith, PhD, CAA, S., Eyers, EdD, AT, ATC, C., & Schneider, PhD, W. Cost Savings Analysis of a High School Athletic Trainer. International Athletic Administration, (Winter 2012), 8-11.
Huggins, R.A., et al. (2019) Athletic Trainer Services in the Secondary School Setting: The Athletic Training Locations and Services Project. Journal of Athletic Training.
Li, T., Johnson, S.T., Koester, M.C. et al. The impact of high school athletic trainer services on medical payments and utilizations: a microsimulation analysis on medical claims. Inj. Epidemiol. 6, 15 (2019).