MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Rehab Associates has provided Montgomery Public Schools with athletic trainers, at no cost to the school system, for the past 25 years.
But a week ago, the rehabilitation provider sent MPS a letter saying it could no longer afford the cost of the service.
“We received a notification from Rehab Associates saying that they were no longer going to be able to help us with their providing certified trainers for our athletic teams," MPS spokesman Tom Salter said.
Bo Richardson with Rehab Associates said the company can no longer afford to provide the trainers.
“We sought a sponsor and we worked for months to try to find a sponsor, and we were unsuccessful. And then we were faced with a very difficult decision,” he said.
Tyrone Rogers was a football coach for 15 years before he became the athletic director at Robert E. Lee High School, and he said he’s concerned about the decision to pull the trainers.
“We’re able to direct these student athletes to someone who’s professional and that knows what to do day-in and day-out, and that’s always been a great pillow for us,” he said.
According to Salter, the school system is doing everything it can to find replacements.
“We’re talking to other providers about the possibility," he said. "Of course, the issue is money. And having the money to pay the trainers and we don’t really have that money, so we’re looking for other possibilities of trainers who would work not at no cost but that someone would provide the trainers for the system, but it would be no cost for us.”
The athletic trainers Rehab Associates provided involved an investment of a little more than $300,000 a year, according to Salter.
WSFA 12 News reached out to the Alabama High School Athletic Association for comment on the matter, and we received the following statement:
“The AHSAA encourages all our schools to have certified athletic trainers when possible, but personnel is the responsibility of each local school system.”
AHSAA does not require schools to have athletic trainers on staff, but it does require them to have emergency action plans in place, and for all coaches to be CPR and AED certified.