WVATA Advocating for Proper Medical Care for Student Athletes in Marion County

Dear WVATA Members,

Please read the included article from the Times West Virginian. As your President, I am very upset by the Marion County Board of Education’s handling and lack of transparency regarding the athletic trainer job vacancies within that school district. The lack of knowledge about the athletic training profession, our education process, and practice act protections is extremely concerning.WV

In my conversation with a Marion County Board administrator two weeks ago, I was led to believe the Marion County Board of Education was dedicated to hiring certified athletic trainers, and their “Plan B” was not something being considered at the time. It is apparent they have moved onto their “Plan B.”  Two of the vacancies have been filled by two individuals listed within the Marion County Board of Education’s Agenda for Monday, January 23, 2023. The two named individuals are LPNs working within the school district. In the article and agenda, the Marion County Board of Education goes so far as to call these candidates they have hired “athletic trainers.”

With that being said, these two individuals are violating the title protection of athletic trainers, and these LPNs will be practicing as athletic trainers without proper credentialing to perform the duties of an athletic trainer. This is a direct violation of our practice act passed in 2019 (SB 60). The use of LPNs can potentially violate the concussion legislation (SB 605), passed in 2019, outlining who can diagnose and manage concussions. Furthermore, an LPN is merely a first-aider at the secondary school level. Licensed practical nurses are task-oriented, meaning they monitor basic health needs, take histories, change dressings, assist with tests and procedures, provide personal care, and consult with RNs on care plans for their patients. Licensed practical nurses must have direct supervision by a physician, professional nurse, or dentist. Licensed practical nurses cannot diagnose, treat injuries or illnesses, or return athletes to play.

I am not devaluing the LPN field but noting that an LPN cannot complete the same duties as an athletic trainer. It is illegal and unsafe for student-athletes. Please join me in filing a complaint with the West Virginia Board of Physician Therapy and the West Virginia Licensing Board of Licensed Practical Nurses. 

As athletic trainers in the state, we have worked too hard for our title protection and licensing. WE need to protect our rights to practice as athletic trainers in this state. The people of West Virginia, especially Marion County, need to be made aware that you cannot replace our services by adding any health care provider. We have our practice act and governing body; with this, I hope to gain more value for our profession instead of being slapped by professionals who lack our education and training. I have conveniently attached the links with both governing bodies to file a complaint. 

WVPN – Complaint Portal (boardsofnursing.org)

Microsoft Word – Complaint Form Online 111913 (wv.gov)

In special session, Marion County Schools hire two limited athletic trainers | Tuesday News | timeswv.com

Tom Belmaggio MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS | Coordinator of Sports Medicine
Cabell Huntington Hospital | Marshall Sports Medicine Institute
President – West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association

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