A Brief History of the ATSNJ
A Brief History of the ATSNJ
By Gary Ball, Ed. D., A.T.C., A.T.R.
The Athletic Training profession is one that has evolved over the past 2000 years from the days of the paidotribal ("boy rubbers") and aleiptes (anointers) (Arnhein, 1989), to an Allied Health Profession that have been recognized by the American Medical Association as such (October, 1992). The current status of the profession in the United States can be attributed to a number of individuals, some of whom may only be a name to many of us. Pinky Newell, Bud Miller, Otho Davis, Dr. S.E. Bilik and the Cramer Family, are but a few who have made a significant impact on the direction of our profession.
The history of Athletic Training in the state of New Jersey is very short when compared to that at the national levels. Yet, the history of Athletic Training in New Jersey still goes back several years when individuals such as Vito Recine, Sandy Biber, and Jim Rudd initiated the drive towards the development of the profession and the concept of regulation as it exists today. Other individuals that were involved at the inception of the regulation concept included Bill Battershall, Joe Camillone, Phil Hossler, Jeff Middleton, Doris Wickel, Wayne Munon, and Dick Malacrea.
In January of 1976, these individuals gathered in Vito Recine's kitchen for what was the initiation of legislation to regulate athletic training in New Jersey. Spurred by a representative from the NATA, the conversations revolved around the need for and the process to obtain a regulatory mechanism for athletic trainers in New Jersey. Soon after the initiation of the move for legislation which would regulate and technically make legal the role of the athletic trainer in New Jersey came the idea of a professional organization to bring together those athletic trainers in the State to solidify a common front. This organization was at that time called the New Jersey Athletic Trainers Society. We now know the organization as the Athletic Trainers Society of New Jersey.
At that point in time, athletic trainers were neither regulated nor legally authorized to carry out many of the functions that were being performed. The impetus of the legislation was to license athletic trainers through the Board of Medical Examiners so that athletic trainers could work in either the high school, college or professional sports setting and nothing more. The Board decided not to support a new license, yet were more inclined to support a registration process with them. Keep in mind that at that time there was no such concept as the clinical athletic trainer.
With the eventual support of individuals throughout the State, particularly Senator John Lynch, the Athletic Training Practices Act was developed by several members of our organization in 1977, and then began the fantastic voyage through the blood stream of the law making apparatus. After several rewrites , compromises, and indulgences, the Act was finally moved out of committee and to the floor of both houses. After passing both floors, the legislation regulating the practice of Athletic Training in New Jersey was sent to and signed by then Governor Thomas Kean on December 6, 1984.
Amendments to the Act sponsored by Assemblyman Martin were made in 1989 and provided a window for registration to some individuals who technically missed the first grandfathering time period. In addition to creating this window, some of the language in the Act was changed to allow those individuals who were certified via the internship route to be eligible for registration rather than restrict registration only to those individuals who graduated from an NATA approved curriculum.
This whole process took only eight years from inception in 1976 to its finalization in 1984. If you look at the history of other legislative actions comparable to this piece, the Athletic Training Practice Act took a remarkably short amount of time to get passed.
As the Athletic Training profession continues to evolve, so does the interest in expanding its parameters. Forthcoming stages of change and expansion could take some time and will definitely need patience, prudence and tact.
I would like to thank Jeff Middleton, Joe Camillone and Tim Sensor for their input for this article and apologize to any individual whose name was not mentioned as part of the originators of our organization.
Arnheim, Daniel: Modem Principles of Athletic Training; Times Mirror/Mosby College Publishing; St. Louis, Mo., 1989.