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©William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Identify the rules of operation that should be enforced in an athletic health care program.

  • Explain budgetary concerns for ordering supplies and equipment.

  • Explain the importance of the preparticipation physical examination.

  • Identify the records that an athletic health care program must maintain.

  • Describe a well-designed athletic health care facility.


Operating an effective athletic health care program requires careful organization and administration.20 This chapter is intended for the individual who at some point may assume some administrative responsibility for an athletic program, perhaps at a secondary or middle school, or even at a community college or small Division III college. In this case, some understanding of the considerations necessary for operating an effective athletic health care program is essential.15 As stated in Chapter 1, an athletic administrator’s consistent support of and commitment to an athletic health care program can have a tremendous impact on the success of the athletic program.21

This chapter looks at the administrative tasks required for successful operation of an athletic health care program, including facility design, policies and procedures, budget considerations, organizing preparticipation physical examinations, and record keeping.


Every athletic health care program must develop policies and procedures that carefully delineate the daily routine of the program.4,38 This is imperative for handling health problems and injuries.25

It is first necessary to decide exactly who will be taken care of in the athletic health care facility. The athletic administrator or school principal must decide the extent to which the athlete will be served.34 For example, will prevention and care activities be extended to athletes for the entire year, including summer and other vacations, or only during the competitive season? A policy should clarify whether students other than athletes, athletes from other schools, faculty, and staff are to receive care.14,16,34 Often legal concerns and the school liability insurance dictate who, other than the athlete, is to be served.17

Every athletic health care program must develop policies and procedures that carefully delineate the daily routine of the program.

Strategic planning should be an ongoing process that takes a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of the program and then takes immediate action to correct deficiencies. The SWOT analysis—which looks at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats underlying planning—is a useful and effective technique in strategic planning for existing athletic health care programs.26,35

Administrators should take a close look at a cost-effectiveness analysis of operating an athletic health care program to determine the value of the return on their investment.

2–1 Critical Thinking Exercise...

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