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Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS) Holds Annual Legislative “Hike to Harrisburg” to Promote Sports Safety and Athletic Training

Over 40 athletic trainer’s (ATs) and athletic training students (ATSs) from across the Commonwealth recently convened in the state capitol for the annual “Hike to Harrisburg” advocacy day. The annual lobbying effort is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS) and The Winter Group, PATS lobby Group. The goal for the day was to educate the elected legislators and the public about the profession of athletic training and the benefits athletic trainers provide to the physically active. Most of the discussions with legislators and staff centered on concussions and concussion education. The meetings were targeted with freshmen legislators in order to develop contacts for future legislative goals and to provide support for current legislative actions dealing with the physically active.

PATS started the day in the conference room of The Winter Group offices. PATS President John Moyer offered a welcome to the attendees and Mark Singel, President of The Winter Group, led a discussion on the talking points of the day. After a group discussion and an informational session from The Winter Group, the group divided into 5 teams to meet with over 30 legislators face-to-face and dropping off information for an additional 25 members of the House and Senate.

PATS representatives visited the offices of Senator Tommy Tomlinson, who introduced the NATM resolution to the Senate, and with Representative Tim Briggs, who introduced the NATM resolution to the House to thank them for their continued support. Additionally, Representative Julie Harhart recognized a group of Athletic Trainers from Coordinated Health Systems in the Lehigh Valley on the House floor in recognition of NATM. Aaron Boggs, MA, LAT, ATC an Athletic Trainer from Parkland School District reflects upon his experience. “The experience of being recognized on the house floor was exhilarating and I would like to thank Representative Harhart for her, and her staff's, efforts to make this achievement possible. Being on the house floor and hearing your name called to promote awareness for the Athletic Training profession during National Athletic Training Month was thrilling and a great experience. I applaud the efforts of our state legislators and PATS from passing licensure in 2010 to our current goal of promoting safety in all sports. The future of Athletic Training is bright indeed.”

In addition to the scheduled meetings with legislators and staff, PATS members manned an exhibit table in the East Wing of the Capitol Building, the hub of activity on legislative session days. Many legislators, staffers, and members of the public saw the PATS display and spoke to Athletic Trainers and Athletic Training students. Pamphlets and information was available about the education of athletic trainers, as well as how ATs help athletes recover from concussions. Additionally people were treated to PATS “goodies” to promote this years’ NATM Theme “A Safer Approach to Work, Life and Sport." The items included calendar magnets, can koozies, PATS labeled chocolate bars, and playing cards reminding people to “deal” ATs into healthcare.

The event was attended by athletic training students from East Stroudsburg University, King’s College, and Messiah College. This unique experience offers the students the opportunity to learn about the legislative system while networking with their peers and Athletic Trainers from across the Commonwealth. Cody Lancellotti, a senior Athletic Training student from King’s College had this to say. “This experience was a great opportunity to both meet with legislators and educate them about athletic training. Overall, it was a great learning experience for both myself and the legislators. “

Since its inception in 1975, PATS has worked tirelessly to Promote, Advocate, Transact business, and Serve its members to advance the field of Athletic Training in Pennsylvania. As a result, we have seen the state legislature pass valuable legislation, which greatly affects the profession of Athletic Training. The most significant bill to date has been the licensure bill for athletic trainers. Other pieces of legislation, which have further advanced our efforts to protect the young athletes of PA, are the Safety in Youth Sports Act and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Bill. Efforts in 2016 include letters of support for AED Awareness Week, Banning Restrictive Covenants, and Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society, Inc. is a progressive organization of licensed health care professionals who work under the direction of a licensed physician. Our society continues to increase public awareness and education regarding Athletic Trainers and the Athletic Training profession while serving as the premier source of information for public safety, injury and illness prevention, early intervention, patient care, and healthcare delivery for the physically active in the Commonwealth.

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