Dear Members of the West Virginia Athletic Trainer Association (WVATA),
I appreciate those who have stood up for our profession and filed complaints against the Marion County Board of Education with the various licensing boards. The huge nationwide outpouring of support for the WVATA has been tremendous. We, the members of the WVATA, must build on this momentum and continue promoting our profession within the state.
I recently spoke with the Marion County Board of Education regarding their use of the term “athletic trainer” and their hiring of LPNs to fulfill the athletic trainer roles. During my discussion with an Assistant Superintendent, I made him aware that hiring LPNs and using them as athletic trainers is a practice act violation and a title protection issue; furthermore, the use of LPNs could be a violation of the LPN practice act.
Regarding the issue, the Assistant Superintendent wrote in an email to me, “I know that you had a concern that Marion County had nurses at athletic events providing limited medical care, this is not to supplant our much-needed Athletic Trainers but only to offer our student-athletes immediate medical stabilization until the rescue squad or doctor arrives on scene of the injury. Of course, minor cuts, scrapes and contusions are handled by our nurses.”
The Assistant Superintendent assured me the Marion County Board of Education does not plan to replace athletic training positions and currently has three openings for athletic trainers (they hope to have one hired) at a very competitive salary. Athletic training services have been provided for Marion County Schools for 30 years, and the Marion County Board of Education is committed to providing their high school’s athletic training services. Their primary issue is recruiting for these positions. I was not confident they had done their due diligence in recruiting, having advertised on a state educators’ website and Indeed.com only. The Marion County Board of Education has neither reached out to the State’s athletic training educational programs to recruit job candidates nor asked for the WVATA’s assistance in the matter.
During this conversation, I felt it was appropriate to offer the assistance of the West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association. We have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the safety and well-being of the student-athletes in the state. Our expertise can greatly assist Marion County and the State of West Virginia. To move forward, I am again asking for the assistance of our members. Please forward the job vacancy to every athletic trainer you know. I am confident by working together with our school districts, we can make a difference in the lives of our secondary school students across the state.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Tom Belmaggio MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS | Coordinator of Sports Medicine
Cabell Huntington Hospital | Marshall Sports Medicine Institute
President – West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association