College Coaches Have Too Much Influence Over Collegiate Athletic Trainers
Pressure From Coaches Jeopardizes Athletes’ Health
By Ken Reed
John Gerdy is one of my favorite sports reformers. He has an extensive background in many aspects of sports. His essays on various sports issues are always well thought out and supported.
In the September issue of his newsletter Quick Hits, John has a compelling essay on college athletes’ rights and safety. He touches on many subjects in the essay but one that really caught my attention was a survey of college athletic trainers, conducted by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).
There were some stunning findings from this survey. For example, approximately 19% of collegiate athletic trainers reported coaches playing athletes deemed “medically out of participation.”
In addition, 36% of trainers alleged coaches have too much power in how medical staffs are operating, directly influencing who is hired and fired from medical staffs. Of those trainers, 58% also said they felt a coach or administrator pressured them to make decisions “not in the best interest of a student-athlete’s health.”
It’s important to note that this study came out about three years after the NCAA passed legislation specifically designed to prevent coaches from having any input regarding medical staffs’ decisions on the health of players.
With all the big dollars in big-time college athletics today, coaches are feeling a lot of pressure to win, and win now. While that’s understandable, we can’t allow that pressure to negatively impact the health of college athletes. Unlike their professional counterparts, these young college athletes don’t have a union to help protect them from health and safety abuses like this.
“A coach should not have any type of an opportunity to provide an opinion on whether or not those [medical] decisions are being made correctly,” said NATA president Tory Lindley. “They lack the medical expertise to provide an opinion.”
The NCAA in general, and universities in particular, need to do a better job of protecting athletic trainers from coaches who are driven by a win-at-all-costs (WAAC) mentality.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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