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J Athl Train. 1999 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 272–276.
PMCID: PMC1322922

Certified Athletic Trainers in Secondary Schools: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association



In June 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced a resolution asking the American Medical Association (AMA) to support efforts to place certified athletic trainers in all secondary schools. The AMA Council on Scientific Affairs studied that resolution and presented this report to the AMA House of Delegates in June 1998.


To identify the professional responsibilities, educational requirements, and current use of certified athletic trainers in the prevention and care of high school sports injuries.

Data Sources:

MEDLINE and HealthSTAR databases were searched for English-language articles published from 1980 to 1998. Additional references were derived from references in pertinent articles, communication with experts, and the Internet sites of athletic training and sports medicine associations.

Data Synthesis:

One in 5 of approximately 6 million adolescents who participate in high school sports each year sustains a sport-related injury. Most of these injuries are minor and occur during practices rather than competitions. Approximately 1 of every 100000 high school athletes will sustain a catastrophic injury. About 35% of US high schools use the services of a certified athletic trainer, who, under a physician's supervision, is responsible for the prevention and care of athletic injuries and coordination of the school athletic health program.


Emphasis should be given to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of participants in high school sports. Whereas most high school sports injuries are minor, adequately trained personnel should be present on site to ensure that such injuries are recognized early, treated immediately, and allowed to heal properly, thereby reducing the risk of more serious injury or reinjury. For such care, team physicians and coaches should have the assistance of a certified athletic trainer.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1021K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • McLain LG, Reynolds S. Sports injuries in a high school. Pediatrics. 1989 Sep;84(3):446–450. [PubMed]
  • Beachy G, Akau CK, Martinson M, Olderr TF. High school sports injuries. A longitudinal study at Punahou School: 1988 to 1996. Am J Sports Med. 1997 Sep-Oct;25(5):675–681. [PubMed]
  • Gertsen KC, Lopez JR. The relationship of the certified athletic trainer and the team physician in sports medicine. Md Med J. 1996 Aug;45(8):675–677. [PubMed]
  • Harries TJ. Medical coverage of high school sports. Md Med J. 1996 Aug;45(8):686–689. [PubMed]
  • Lindaman LM. Athletic trainer availability in interscholastic athletics in michigan. J Athl Train. 1992;27(1):9–16. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Robustova TG, Romacheva IF, Kats AG, Orestova EV, Lomov-Oppokov Iu G. Opyt provedeniia prakticheskogo zaniatiia s ispol'zovaniem skhem orientirochnoi osnovy deistviia i situatsionnykh zadach. Stomatologiia (Mosk) 1989 Mar-Apr;68(2):82–84. [PubMed]
  • Rello MN. The importance of state regulation to the promulgation of the athletic training profession. J Athl Train. 1996 Apr;31(2):160–164. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Savastano AA. The team physician, trainer, instructor, coach, and the law. Good medical judgment and adequate malpractice insurance are important components of protection. R I Med J. 1979 Sep;62(9):367–372. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association