High schools in Hillsborough County will continue to have athletic trainers

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Last month, Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis announced safety measures as part of a nearly $1 million settlement the school board reached with the family of Hezekiah B. Walters, the Middleton player who collapsed and died after going through conditioning drills in June of 2019. 

One of the biggest protocols was to ensure athletic trainers were provided at every public high school. 

On Tuesday, the school board will be asked to approve that step.  

PT Solutions LLC, which provided athletic trainers at five schools this past school year, will  supply them year-round at all 28 schools under the pending contract. 

Last year, Hillsborough County hired certified trainers through three organizations. The funds needed to provide them at the time: $270,000. That amounted to $10,000 per school.

The financial commitment fell well short of what was provided in neighboring counties. Pinellas County spent about $360,000 to have athletic trainers at its 16 public schools this past year. Pasco County spent $330,000 for 13 schools. 

Money, or thereof, was due in some part to two organizations, the University of South Florida SMART Institute and Physical Therapy Select, deciding to no longer provide athletic trainers in Hillsborough County.. 

That shortfall left the county potentially having trainers at just six of 28 schools entering fall practices. 

That proposed contract calls for spending $420,000, which equals to $15,000 per school (Sumner High opens this fall). That is a significant step up financially from what was provided last year. 

PT Solutions already has a contract with Pasco County to provide trainers at its 13 public schools. If the contract with Hillsborough County is approved, the company would be the largest supplier of athletic trainers in the Tampa Bay area.