SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s game night, but all eyes aren’t only on the players in the field. Certified athletic trainers are in the spotlight, too.
“We’re a first responder, another set of eyes pretty much,” said athletic trainer Rohit Sharma.READ MORE: 'I Feel Taken Advantage Of': Call Kurtis Investigates Insurance Rates Pricing People Out Of The Foothills
The guys on the sidelines are specially trained to watch for injuries when the coach can’t.
“To the common eye you see a tackle, but I might look at someone as if, OK, he got tackled but he got hit hard and his head hit the floor,” Sharma said.
They play a key role in spotting concussions, but eighty percent of California high schools don’t employ full-time athletic trainers – unlike pro and college sports.
“My son played over at Chapman and they’ve got an athletic trainer at all times. So there should be some level of that at high school football too,” said a father in the stands.READ MORE: WATCH: Suspect Recorded Running From Hit-And-Run Crash Scene In Sacramento
There’s no policy or law requiring high schools to hire athletic trainers Monday through Friday, so most schools only call them on game day.
Roger Blake, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), argues that the response to the issue has been slow due to numerous factors.
“It’s a multi-dimensional part. It really is. We haven’t educated them well enough and there’s always that issue of how are we going to pay for this,” Blake said.
He admits it’s a money issue.
“There’s a price tag to this. I mean, if there was an athletic trainer at all 1,576 schools, that means every school is going to have to hire this individual,” Blake said.
So why won’t high schools invest? California remains the only state in the nation that doesn’t recognize athletic trainers as licensed health care professionals.MORE NEWS: 'Have A Plan To Get Out': New Survey Shows Several Greater Sacramento-Area Cities Have High Fire Risk
The CIF is trying to push a couple bills that would properly define athletic trainers and would require athletic trainers be here at all times – not just game day.