Athletic Trainers Should be Certified to Provide Evidence-based Substance Abuse Prevention

Athletic Trainers Should be Certified to Provide Evidence-based Substance Abuse Prevention

The use of athletic trainers in high schools and colleges has increased over the past 10 years.  Their ability to prevent sports injuries is critically important not only to young athletes, but to their parents and coaches as well. 

Athletic trainers are also in a perfect position to help young athletes avoid the all too common pitfall of abusing alcohol and drugs that can destroy their athletic and academic careers. 

Because athletic trainers work closely with young athletes on a one-on-one basis, they develop relationships based on mutual trust and respect that are ideal for effective prevention communication. 

In addition, athletic trainers are specially prepared to address prevention and education issues among athletes. 

For these reasons, athletic trainers are in a perfect position to provide young athletes with evidence-based substance use prevention and wellness messages that will protect and promote their health, fitness and performance on and off the field.

Young Athletes at Risk for Substance Abuse 

A new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction examined research on youth sports participation and substance use, and concluded that sports participation has both a positive and negative effect on youth substance use. 

These findings highlight that sports are an ideal setting for providing substance use prevention messages for young people. 

Substance use prevention messages can be provided to young athletes during pre-participation sports physicals, at team meetings, as take-home assignments, or during individual interactions with players. 

Evidence-based substance use prevention programs like SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness for youth, and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness for college students are ideally suited for use by athletic trainers, coaches, and peer athlete leaders for the following reasons.

Seven Advantages of Evidence-based Prevention 

First, as the only single-session (30-45 minute) evidence-based substance use prevention with fitness programs in the nation, they can be implemented in any setting, including sports physicals, team meetings, with individual athletes, and at home with parents. 

Two, they are easy to implement because they include fully scripted message protocols and PowerPoint slides that can be presented to athletes using a tablet, laptop, or projected on a screen to the entire team.

Three, they uniquely integrate substance abuse avoidance messages with those aimed at promoting physical activity, sports participation, healthy eating, getting adequate sleep, and controlling stress necessary for improving the well-being and performance of young athletes. 

Fourth, they teach youth self-control skills by setting and monitoring goals not only to avoid health, fitness and performance-damaging substance use, but increase one or more fitness and health-promoting behaviors to improve overall health and positive self-identity.

Fifth, the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program includes parent materials that research has shown to increase parent-youth communication and prevent youth substance use. 

Sixth, both SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness for youth and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness for college students are research-tested programs listed on the federal government’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). 

Lastly, SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness programs come with a self-paced, easy to use online training program resulting in a one-year certification to implement the programs to young athletes and students.


Young athletes are at risk for substance abuse that can ruin their athletic and academic careers. 

Athletic trainers are perfectly prepared and situated to protect and promote the fitness, health and performance of young athletes in high school and college settings by providing brief, practical evidence-based substance abuse prevention communication. 

For high school and college sports programs that don’t currently utilize athletic trainers, the evidence-based SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness programs can be easily and quickly provided to young athletes by coaches, student assistants, peer leaders, and parents. 

Certification is provided via an easy to use online training program included with the purchase of the SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness programs. 

For more information about the use of evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs for young athletes and all youth, check out Prevention Plus Wellness, LLC on the web: 

Or call us: (904) 472-5022 

Please like and share this important information with others in your region and state.  Thank you.

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