School Board, UF to create pipeline of new athletic trainers area for high schools

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Posted November 14, 2022 | By Allen Barney
allen@ocalagazette.com

The University of Florida and the Marion County School Board have agreed to a deal to begin hiring UF-trained professional athletic trainers for future job openings at the high schools in the county.

The board voted unanimously for the agreement, which is retroactive to Aug. 1.

Board member Don Browning, who was taking part in his last school board meeting before retirement, spoke with excitement about the partnership.

“They are such a powerful organization, and we’re so close,’’ he said. “It’s a great asset to our educational and athletic efforts. I’m very pleased with this.”

Currently, North Marion High and West Port High each need a new athletic trainer and will be hiring from the university’s field of professionals. If Belleview, Forest, Lake Weir, Dunnellon or Vanguard high schools have an opening at the position, the new hire will come from UF also.

According to a 12-page document on the school board meeting agenda, the new hire at North Marion will work 25 hours per week and earn a salary of $43,990. At West Port, it will be 30 hours per week with a salary of $52,786.

The median salary for an athletic trainer in the United States is $48,420, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The website says the annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours.

Board member Kelly King expressed concern over whether the athletic trainers are getting paid enough and wants the issue to be discussed by the board in the future.

“There is a question about the pay,’’ she said. “Maybe there could be some follow up with that because they may not be making what the beginning teachers are making.”

With the responsibility of maintaining the health of high school athletes, the agreement contains the qualifications for applicants of the position. The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree, be board-certified or certified eligible, hold an athletic training license or be eligible to obtain the license, be enrolled at UF and/or be employed by or a leased employee of the UF College of Medicine and must have academic achievement and be in good standing with the university.

The document also laid out the goals for the new trainers. Some of their major duties include:

  • Maintain athletic training room facilities.
  • Develop a budget for medical supplies and equipment to be submitted to the athletic director yearly or on request, so that appropriate injury protection and management will be possible.
  • Participate in the evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.
  • Participate in the application of first aid and other medical assistance as is reasonable and possible under the circumstances pending the arrival of ambulance services in the case of major injuries.
  • Provide recommendation for exercise or other physical measures for minor injuries under the directions, supervision, and review of a physician.
  • Monitor records to assure all athletes comply with the school’s insurance coverage and program.
  • Maintain current inventory records of athletic training room supplies and equipment.
  • Conduct clinics for the coaching staff on the management and treatment of athletic injuries.