Trainers should be neutral hires

The New Mission High School girls’ basketball team is crying foul over losing a tournament game last week after the opposing team’s medical trainer pulled New Mission’s star player. The team wants to bring its own trainer to future matches. A better, fairer solution would be for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to hire neutral on-hand medical trainers for major tournaments.

The MIAA has said it won’t second-guess a decision by a qualified trainer to bench DeAndra Humphries after she was poked in the eye. The trainer, an independent medical professional hired by tournament host Shawsheen Tech, examined Humphries and determined she may be at risk for a concussion. New Mission’s athletic director has suggested Humphries’ ouster was to stop a 7-point scoring spree, not protect her health. While there’s no reason to doubt the trainer’s assessment in this case, it’s easy to imagine future squabbles about players’ eligibility if the trainers who make the decisions work for the opposing teams.

In such situations, both teams having their own trainers would only lead to more confusion. The trainers’ loyalties shouldn’t be open to question. The easiest way to guarantee that is for the MIAA to step up and take responsibility for staffing independent trainers at tournaments going forward.