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Ratio of AT's to athletes

I regularly coordinate AT coverage for large soccer tournaments. I like to staff one AT for every other field for ages 12 and up, fewer AT's are typically required for younger kids. I get a lot of push back from some tournament organizers who don't want to pay for as many AT's as I suggest. What are your thoughts on an appropriate ratio of AT's to athletes/fields? Do any states or organization's have any written guidelines/requirements?


  • I like your 1 to 2 ratio. I think more than that and things can get dangerous fast. I think sometimes it depends on the level of play, i.e. summer fun league lacrosse, compared to a college showcase. But in the past, I have been asked to watch way more than I was comfortable watching. In other tournaments, where they really have their acts together and value safety, I have seen one ATC per field. It's sort of comparable to the money factor. If the company is grossly underpaying for your services, don't choose to work for them. If they are setting you up for failure in an unsafe environment, try to talk to them, but then you can choose not to work there, too.
  • Sadly, it really does come down to the money. I have worked large soccer events (20+ fields) where there is one ATC to 5 fields - sometimes it is U12, sometimes U18. Thankfully, in the past few years the ratio has dropped to 2 ATCs per 5 fields. Most of my nasty injuries have been working these events. The big thing is make sure there is an EAP and concussion protocol in place, document, and be more cautious than you would be in your normal practice since you don't know the athletes well. Parents and coaches are often the worst struggle, but stand your ground. Some of the leagues here will not allow an athlete back if pulled by an ATC for suspected head injury until cleared by a physician. Its a step in the right direction to ensure follow up when we are covering events.
  • I've worked basketball tournaments at a large facility where it's 2 ATC's to 16 courts. It's insane and very difficult to cover because you can't see every court every second, you barely get a chance to sit down, eat, or even use the bathroom during your 8 hour shift.
  • Also that's only have the tournament, there was another ATC covering another 6 courts, and 2 that stayed in the AT room which is close enough to cover the other 20 courts which they never get out to due to the amount of walk-in injuries, and pregame taping that needs to be done. I have trouble believing what they do at this facility is legal.
  • I've been doing this with soccer tournaments and leagues for 40 years. Other out reach programs in the area have a 1 AT to 4 fields ratio. This is preferable. If there are field marshals on site, I have covered up to 18 fields alone. It can get very hectic and uncomfortable. These are leagues that for years had no coverage. The level of play also has a huge impact on the amount of serious injuries. The cost is important to the entities I work with as well. The large umbrella soccer association just mandated that when a referee suspects a head injury, an LAT has to clear them to go back on the field. This has made every small association a potential customer. There are not enough LATs. In the fall, 7 year old flag football leagues are hiring LATs to cover games. All the outreach programs are short of LATs. And it is only getting busier. The pay per hour has to go higher to reflect the demand for our services. Some events are going uncovered. On a my busiest weekend; I will cover 24k kids at 2 tournaments with lots of help.
  • We are becoming enablers, promoting dangerous practice when covering multiple events with not enough staff. There have already been lawsuits.
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