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NO. 108. AN ACT RELATING TO CERTIFICATION OF ATHLETIC TRAINERS.

(H.359)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 26 V.S.A. chapter 83 is added to read:

CHAPTER 83. ATHLETIC TRAINERS

§ 4151. DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Athlete" means any individual participating in fitness training and conditioning, sports or other athletic competition, practices or events requiring physical strength, agility, flexibility, range of motion, speed or stamina.

(2) "Athletic injury" means a disruption of tissue continuity that is sustained by an athlete who does not have any underlying pathology, when that injury:

(A) results from that individual's participation in or training for sports, fitness training or other athletic competition; or

(B) restricts or prevents that individual from participation in those activities.

(3) "Athletic training" means the application of principles and methods of conditioning, the prevention, assessment and treatment of athletic and orthopaedic injuries within the scope of education and training, the organization and administration of an athletic training program and the education and counseling of athletes, coaches, family members, medical personnel and communities in the area of care and prevention of athletic and orthopaedic injuries. Athletic training may only be applied in the "traditional setting" and the "clinical setting":

(A) Without further referral, to athletes participating in organized sports or athletic teams at an interscholastic, intramural, instructional, intercollegiate, amateur, or professional level, who have been determined, by a physician's examination, to be free of underlying pathology.

(B) With a referral from a physician, osteopathic physician, or chiropractor, to persons who have an athletic or orthopaedic injury and have been determined, by a physician's examination, to be free of underlying pathology.

(4) "Certified athletic trainer" means a person certified in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(5) "Conditioning" means programs designed to enhance the following physiological areas: flexibility, muscle strength, muscle endurance, neuromuscular coordination and cardio-respiratory endurance that will assist in improved athletic performance specific to the sport in which the athlete participates. Conditioning includes programs used before the season, and programs to reestablish performance during the season.

(6) "Director" means the director of the office of professional regulation.

(7) "Disciplinary action" or "disciplinary cases" includes any action taken by the administrative law officer established in section 129 of Title 3 against a certified athletic trainer or applicant premised upon a finding of wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct. It includes all sanctions of any kind, denying, suspending or revoking certifications, issuing warnings and other sanctions.

(8) "Orthopaedic injury" means a disruption of musculoskeletal tissue continuity that is sustained by an individual. An individual with this type of injury may be treated by an athletic trainer as long as the individual does not have any underlying pathologies.

(9) "Referral" means sending a patient for treatment.

(10) "Settings" means any areas in which an athletic trainer may practice athletic training. These areas include:

(A) "Traditional setting" means working with any organized sports or athletic teams at an interscholastic, intramural, instructional, intercollegiate, amateur, or professional level.

(B) "Clinical setting" means an outpatient orthopaedic or sports medicine clinic that employs, at a minimum, athletic trainers and physical therapists at a ratio of no greater than two athletic trainers to one physical therapist.

(11) "Underlying pathology" means any disease process, including but not limited to neuromuscular disease, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and systemic diseases.

§ 4152. PROHIBITION; OFFENSES

(a) No person may use in connection with the person's name any letters, words or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a certified athletic trainer unless the person is certified in accordance with this chapter.

(b) A person violating any of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both, for each occurrence.

§ 4153. EXEMPTIONS

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a nonresident athletic trainer who does not otherwise practice in this state and who is employed by an out-of-state educational institution or a professional sports team, provided that the nonresident athletic trainer is certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association.

§ 4154. OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

(a) The director shall:

(1) Provide general information to applicants for certification as athletic trainers.

(2) Explain appeal procedures to certified athletic trainers and applicants, and complaint procedures to the public.

(3) Administer fees as established by law.

(4) Receive applications for certification, administer examinations, provide certificates to applicants qualified under this chapter, renew, revoke and reinstate certificates as ordered by an administrative law officer.

(5) Refer all disciplinary matters to an administrative law officer.

(b) The director may adopt rules necessary to perform his or her duties under this section.

§ 4155. ADVISOR APPOINTEES

(a) The secretary of state shall appoint two athletic trainers for four-year terms to serve at the secretary's pleasure as advisors in matters relating to athletic training. One of the initial appointments may be for less than a four-year term. Appointees shall have not less than three years' experience as an athletic trainer immediately preceding appointmentand shall be actively engaged in the practice of athletic training in this state during incumbency.

(b) The director shall seek the advice of the athletic trainer advisors in carrying out provisions of this chapter.

§ 4156. ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for certification as an athletic trainer, an applicant shall:

(1) Pass the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification examination consisting of written, oral and written simulation portions; and

(2) Furnish proof of membership in good standing with the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification.

§ 4157. CERTIFICATION WITHOUT EXAMINATION

The director may, upon payment of the required fee, grant certification without examination if the applicant is licensed or certified in good standing to practice athletic training in another jurisdiction.

§ 4158. APPLICATION

A person who desires to be certified as an athletic trainer shall apply to the director in writing, on a form furnished by the director, accompanied by payment of a fee required pursuant to section 125 of Title 3 and evidence that the applicant meets the requirements set forth in section 4156 or 4157 of this title.

§ 4159. UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

(a) A certified athletic trainer shall not engage in unprofessional conduct. When such conduct is committed by an applicant, it shall be grounds for denial of the application or other disciplinary action.

(b) Unprofessional conduct means the following conduct and conduct set forth in section 129a of Title 3:

(1) Failing to make available to a person using athletic training services, upon that person's request, copies of documents in the possession or under the control of the practitioner, when those documents have been prepared for the user of services.

(2) Conduct which evidences unfitness to practice athletic training.

(3) Sexual harassment of a person using athletic training services.

(4) Engaging in a sexual act as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3251 with a person using athletic training services.

(5) Any of the following except when reasonably undertaken in an emergency in order to protect life, health or property:

(A) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law.

(B) Performing athletic training services which have not been authorized by the consumer or his or her legal representative.

(6) Conduct prohibited under any other laws relating to athletic training.

(c) After notice and an opportunity for hearing, and upon a finding of unprofessional conduct, an administrative law officer may take disciplinary action against a certified athletic trainer or applicant.

§ 4160. COORDINATION OF PRACTICE ACTS

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the practice of athletic training by a person certified under this chapter shall not constitute unauthorized practice of any other profession regulated under this title, provided the person is acting within the scope of his or her profession as an athletic trainer and does not hold himself or herself out as a practitioner of a profession for which he or she is not licensed or certified. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent persons certified as athletic trainers from performing patient care activities under the supervision of licensed health care providers.

Sec. 2. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

(a) Upon application and payment of the application fee established under section 125 of Title 3, athletic trainers certified by and in good standing with the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification and practicing in Vermont on the effective date of this act shall be granted certification. To be eligible for certification under this section, the applicant must have been engaged in the practice of athletic training in Vermont on December 31, 1998 and shall apply for certification on or before July 1, 1999.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of 26 V.S.A. § 4155, relating to the qualificationsfor athletic trainer advisor appointees, the advisors initially appointed shall be eligible for certification under 26 V.S.A. § 4156 or 4157 and shall become certified during incumbency.

Sec. 3. 3 V.S.A. § 122(a)(38) is added to read:

(38) Athletic trainers.

Sec. 4. 26 V.S.A. § 3102(b)(31) is added to read:

(31) Chapter 83 of Title 26 on athletic trainers.

Sec. 5. APPROPRIATION

The amount of $15,000.00 is appropriated to the office of professional regulation from the professional regulatory fee fund for fiscal year 1999 to implement this act.

Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect January 1, 1999.

Approved: April 21, 1998