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Abstract

Purpose: Sports-related injuries are common and often require physician or hospital care. Since the advent of concussion laws in fifty states, hospitals across the country have come forward to partner with secondary schools in the provision of sports medicine healthcare. The outreach agreements are consistent: Hospitals hire athletic trainers (ATs) and then outsource them to schools. ATs help mitigate risk in sports programs. Onsite at the schools daily, ATs provide immediate evaluation and treatment for injuries that occur and render decisions regarding the appropriateness of an injured athlete’s return to participation. The goal of this case study was to describe the experiences of one hospital in relation to (a) the factors the contributed to its administration’s decision to provide athletic training services to area schools, (b) the program structure, (c) the annual costs, and (d) the benefits reaped. Methods: This investigation spanned the course of the first five years of the hospital’s partnership with four separate high schools. Interviews with key hospital and school district administrators along with additional tracking of the number of professional medical referrals helped to illuminate the program’s successes. Results: The partnership proved to be a win-win. It strengthened the hospital’s community relations, provided area school sports programs with much-needed medical oversight, and provided a consistent stream of revenue generation via professional medical referrals, both for the hospital and for its affiliated providers. Conclusion: Hospital administrators should look to this example as one that supports the decision to partner with local schools in the provision of athletic healthcare.

Author Bio(s)

Caroline E. Faure, EdD; ATC is a Professor of Human Performance and Sport Studies in the College of Education at Idaho State University. She is also a certified and licensed athletic trainer who practiced in the secondary school setting for 15 years.

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