Earlier this summer, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act No. 17-195, An Act Concerning Athletic Trainers (the “Act”), which amended the statute governing the professional requirements surrounding athletic trainers. Effective October 1, 2017, Section 1 of the Act amended Connecticut General Statutes § 20-65f, which contains the relevant definitions applicable to athletic trainers. In sum, these revisions clarify the scope of practice for athletic trainers and enumerate various requirements for standing orders and insurance coverage.

Under existing law, athletic trainers apply care “with the consent and under the direction of a health care provider.” The new Act now defines the phrase “with the consent and under the direction of a health care provider” to mean athletic training provided “under a written prescription issued by a health care provider” specifying the plan of care or treatment or “under a standing order issued by a health care provider.” Importantly, the new Act also substantially revised the definition of “standing orders” to require, among other things, that standing orders must:

  • be annually reviewed and renewed by the health care provider and athletic trainer;
  • require ongoing communication between the provider and trainer;
  • include a plan for emergency situations, appropriate treatments for specific illnesses or injuries, instructions for concussion treatment and management, and a list of conditions necessitating immediate referral to a health care provider; and
  • include a list of conditions that are beyond the scope of practice, education, or training of the athletic trainer.

Athletic trainers not practicing under standing orders may only perform initial evaluations and immediate injury management and emergency care for those suffering an acute athletic injury or illness, and must make a referral of such treated individual to a licensed health care provider.

Additionally, Section 4 of the Act amended Connecticut General Statutes § 20-65j, now requiring that, commencing with the license renewal registration period on or after October 1, 2017, athletic trainers seeking renewal carry professional liability insurance or other indemnity for professional malpractice of at least $500,000 per person per occurrence, and $1.5 million aggregate, unless that insurance or indemnity is provided by the employer.

Schools and districts should review these revisions and their procedures for athletic trainers to ensure compliance with these new statutory requirements.