Inauguration Day

January 21, 2013

On this day, January 21, 2013 we are celebrating the inauguration of the President of the United States. It is certainly a grand affair. The actual inauguration actually happens on January 20, but the ceremony and all of the festivities occur today. If you caught any of it on tv you understand some of the magnitude of this event.

I appreciated the fun fact that President Obama is only the second President to take the oath of office four times. The previous was Franklin Roosevelt who served four terms. Because of the mistake that occurred in the public oath of office the first time Obama took it again the next day for his first term. This term he took it yesterday officially and today ceremonially.

In one month athletic trainers will be going to the same place that President Obama took his ceremonial oath. Where half a million people are today will be empty, except for the few hundred athletic trainers. No, wer’re not going there to march on Washington or to protest. Leave your signs at home.

We are going to educate. We are meeting with our elected officials’ offices to inform them about the issues important to athletic training. Why is this so important though? It is important because athletic trainers need to be heard and need to educate their representatives at the federal level. Many representatives at the state level have some understanding as we have licensure in 39 states. At the same time, there are only 42% of schools in the United States with ACCESS to an athletic trainer. This is not 42% with a full-time athletic trainer. This is not 42% with an appropriate athletic training staff to meet the needs of the school. Let me put it another way. 58% of schools DO NOT have access to an athletic trainer.

If there is ever a way to address athlete safety I would say that that is the way. Address access to appropriate care. There is no professional on the frontlines like an athletic trainer. There is no one that is as well prepared. It is documented almost weekly of heroes within the athletic training profession doing what they are educated to do.

This is my call to action. If you are an athletic trainer go to the Capitol Hill Day page (http://www.nata.org/capitol-hill-day-0) and register to attend. You are needed. It is not hard work. It is rewarding and it is important. And while today is Inauguration day, don’t forget about the event at the Capitol Hill in February.

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