Documenting College Athlete Health and Performance: Beyond Health and Wins, It’s About CYA

Documenting College Athlete Health and Performance: Beyond Health and Wins, It’s About CYA

By Randy Cohen, DPT, AT

With over 30 years in sports medicine and athletic training, I’ve seen up close the evolving landscape of college sports. Remember when it was just about fun, rivalries, and bragging rights? Yeah, me neither. But I do recall a time when it wasn’t nearly as litigious. Back then, documenting injuries, care, and training was primarily about athletes’ health and performance—OK, it was about winning too.

Today, the stakes are much higher. College athletes deserve a share in the revenue they generate, but this brings increased scrutiny and higher risks for collegiate programs. With NIL deals and legal settlements like House vs. NCAA, the cost and liability for programs have surged. To make sure athletes stay at the top of their game and so we don’t get caught in legal crossfire, sports medicine, and conditioning professionals must work together and take proactive measures.

Documentation isn’t just about health and performance anymore; it’s about covering your ass and protecting the assets of your program and institution. And it’s more critical than ever.

TRAZER is a 360° documentation solution

By design, TRAZER identifies areas of weakness at 30 frames per second (fps), date and time stamping every interaction. Each test notates the athlete and provider, capturing utilization across your care team to know who is documenting care. This makes pre-, mid-, and postseason assessments critical not only for enhancing performance but also for mitigating against the risk of injury and potential injury-related actions. More importantly, in the event of injury, TRAZER helps to remove subjectivity in evaluating return-to-play, empowering data-driven decisions. This comprehensive tracking system helps ensure decisions made are backed up by data, giving coaching and medical staff, as well as athletes, numbers to go by rather than gut feelings or degrees of pain.

Mitigating Injury Risks

Injury prevention is another critical aspect of documentation and another area where TRAZER shines. By maintaining detailed records of training, injuries, and recovery protocols, athletic programs can identify trends and causative factors of injuries. The TRAZER data analytics portal stores this information, allowing for comprehensive analysis and tracking. This historical data is invaluable for developing evidence-based injury prevention and training strategies.

Documenting pre-existing conditions and injuries sustained during the season helps ensure that medical and training staff are informed when making return-to-play decisions. Careful management is crucial in preventing re-injury and ensuring an athlete’s longevity and long-term health.

Legal Protection and Accountability

In today’s litigious climate, thorough documentation serves as a critical defense against injury-related lawsuits. Athletic trainers, coaches, and institutions face increasing scrutiny regarding their responsibility to ensure athlete safety. Detailed records can demonstrate that appropriate measures were taken to safeguard athletes’ health, providing a potential layer of legal protection.

For example, in the event of a lawsuit, having detailed records showing adherence to best practices in injury prevention, treatment protocols, and return-to-play decisions can be pivotal. It provides evidence that the institution and its staff acted responsibly and in the athletes’ best interest.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulations

Documentation is essential for compliance with various regulatory and governing bodies. The NCAA and other athletic organizations have stringent requirements regarding athlete health and safety. Accurate and thorough documentation ensures that athletic programs meet these standards, avoiding penalties and sanctions.


The importance of documenting college athlete health and performance cannot be overstated, nor can the value that TRAZER adds. TRAZER impacts both physical and cognitive function for injury recovery, injury prevention, and enhancing athletic performance, providing comprehensive quantifiable documentation.

In the current climate, where athlete welfare and legal accountability are in sharp focus, comprehensive documentation practices are essential. By prioritizing meticulous record-keeping, athletic programs foster a safer and more effective training environment and protect themselves from the significant risks associated with athlete injuries and related lawsuits.