By Taylor Viles – 1851 Staff
It’s not often in people’s lives they get the chance to make a real difference in our profession. They try, but often come up short or lack the motivation to begin in the first place. Assistant Professor of Athletic Training and Doctor Christianne Eason is not one of these people.
Doctor Eason is one of a few Massachusetts athletic trainers heading up a bill to make their profession more accessible. “Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals,” said Eason.
“We have to operate under our scope of practice. Each state gets to dictate what that means.” For Massachusetts, the athletic training laws restrict the ability of athletic trainers. “We are trying to change [the] language… Instead of saying ‘athlete,’ [we want it to say] ‘patient.’ [We also want to] to get rid of the affiliation,” said Eason.
The affiliation refers to the institution, whether that be a school or a sports team. Right now, the law states after an athlete leaves an institution, the athletic trainer who was working with that athlete can no longer work with them. “Nationally, workplaces for athletic trainers include hospitals, industrial, military, performing arts, and public safety,” said Dean of Health Sciences Cristina Haverty. “In Massachusetts, athletic trainers are restricted to working with patients only associated with teams.
Eason explained the language used in the laws doesn’t allow professionals enough variety in their practice. “If this language isn’t changed, it potentially limits [students’] job opportunities when they graduate,” she said.
One student who this could affect is junior athletic training major Lillian Delaney. “I eventually want to be an athletic trainer for the military,” said Delaney. “Right now, if I wanted to do that, I’d have to move somewhere else.” Eason echoed these thoughts, stressing the threat of students moving out of state to pursue better opportunities elsewhere could be enough for lawmakers to jump into action.
In 2016, Eason was hired as a fulltime faculty member and has since worked her way up to graduate coordinator of health sciences. She first became involved with the bill when a former colleague, Dominique Ross, asked her. She wasn’t too familiar with the topic but quickly became intrigued. After Ross left Lasell, Eason became Lasell’s head spokesperson for the bill.
“Professor Eason is an exceptional representative for this bill,” said Haverty. “[She] has expertise in the field of athletic training as a clinician, educator and researcher… Lasell is lucky to have such a tremendous asset.”
Unfortunately for Eason and her colleagues, it has been tabled multiple times because other “more important” bills have surpassed it. “It’s been this vicious circle,” said Eason.
Recently, Eason, along with seven other athletic trainers from around Massachusetts, went to the State House to testify on behalf of the bill. They are hopeful this will be the year of success.