Communicable Disease Policies

Prior to matriculation in the AT Program, a student must submit the following:

Completed Athletic Training Program (AT Program) Immunization, Wellness and Health Insurance Form as part of the AT Program admission (portfolio) process. The form must be signed by a qualified medical provider (i.e., MD, DO, RNP, PA) and include immunization verification, health insurance and assumption of risk attestation.  The Immunization, Wellness and Health Insurance Form and/or immunization record serves to document completed and current vaccinations and/or immunity for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis B (or signed declination waiver), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal infection (or signed declination waiver), immunity to varicella (Chickenpox), and a negative two-step tuberculin skin test (PPD) within the last year.  An initially negative PPD test must be repeated in one week to be certain that you are free of disease.  If you have a contraindication to the PPD test, you must provide documentation of a negative chest x-ray within three months of the start of coursework and/or clinical experiences. Note: you will not be able to start classes until all documentation is received, so please do not delay in confirming these immunizations.

Health, Immunizations and Bloodborne Pathogens

Students in the AT Program must show proof of appropriate immunity, or documented immunization (e.g., Immunization, Wellness and Health Insurance Form), prior to matriculation and/or the onset of clinical experiences.  Documented immunization also includes current season’s quadrivalent formulation of the flu vaccine (annually) and a negative two-step tuberculin skin test (PPD) within 3-months of UF Health & Shands clinical experiences.  Ultimately, each student is responsible for his/her health and safety in the clinical/educational setting.  The AT Program encourages all AT students to have and maintain current health insurance; the AT Program does NOT provide or cover the cost of care or services for an AT student with an injury/illness.  All AT students must adhere to appropriate policies and procedures in the event of injury or potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens or other communicable diseases. As a pre-AT student and AT Student, bloodborne pathogens training occurs annually, covering information on universal blood and body fluid precautions, infection control and prevention of the spread of communicable disease.

Exposures to bloodborne pathogens and Communicable Diseases

Policies and procedures concerning bloodborne pathogen exposures and exposures to communicable diseases are addressed during the Bloodborne Pathogens annual training program (provided via e-learning prior to initiating clinical experiences each academic year).  A copy of the University of Florida Exposure Control Plan is provided to each student during the training and is available on the Environmental Health and Safety website.

It is the responsibility of the student to report sharps injuries, needle sticks, or other potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens via blood or body fluids immediately to the supervisor at the facility where the accident occurs.  In the event that the student contracts a communicable disease which potentially poses a risk to patients or co-workers (e.g. tuberculosis, varicella), steps will be taken to prevent dissemination in accordance with Student Health Care Center, Public Health and/or Center for Disease Control protocols. Certain communicable diseases may also be reported to county or state health authorities, as required by law.

Time is frequently of the essence in managing bloodborne pathogen exposures. For example, some treatment regimens must be started within two hours of exposure to be maximally effective.

In the event of any potential bloodborne pathogen exposure, the student should clean the area with soap and water.  Document the name of the source of the exposure and pertinent information regarding the situation and then notify their immediate site supervisor.  Students and/or clinical supervisors are instructed to contact a medical provider (needle stick hotline) by calling 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free) and follow the instructions provided; consultation is available 24-hours a day. The UF medical provider will make recommendations for immediate evaluation and care as follows:

  1. If the student is within a one-hour radius of Gainesville the student should receive their care at the Student Health Care Center (SHCC) at the main Infirmary Building on Fletcher Drive, located next to the Florida Gym, (352) 392-1161. During Fall and Spring semesters, the SHCC is open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed on weekends and university holidays. During Summer semester and semester breaks, please call the SHCC for hours.
  2. If the student is at an off-site rotation more than one-hour from Gainesville, the student should notify their clinical supervisor and the medical provider at 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free), and then seek care at a nearby hospital emergency center. Subsequently, the student should call to make an appointment at the SHCC @ the Infirmary Building for appropriate follow-up care.
  3. If after hours, the student should first call the needle stick hotline personnel at 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free) for instructions regarding immediate care for potential bloodborne pathogen exposures. Care may be given at a local Emergency Department; the student should call to make an appointment at the SHCC @ the Infirmary Building for appropriate follow-up care.

Please note: Students are responsible for expenses related to their care, through student and/or personal insurance or by some other means.

Students Ill with Communicable Diseases

The AT Program and the clinical site affiliates, may not allow students with communicable diseases or conditions to have patient contact. This restriction may be necessary to protect the health and safety of all patients and staff at these sites.  Persons with the following medical conditions will not be allowed patient contact without a medical clearance:

  1. Active chickenpox, measles, german measles, herpes zoster (shingles), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis
  2. Oral herpes with draining lesions
  3. Group A streptococcal disease (i.e., strep throat) until 24 hours of treatment received
  4. Diarrhea lasting over three days or accompanied by fever or bloody stools.
  5. Draining or infected skin lesions
  6. Conjunctivitis

If an ill student is unsure whether he/she should participate in patient care, the student should contact the SHCC clinical staff at (352) 392-1161 and speak to the student’s primary physician.

Standard Universal Precautions

When providing patient care, regardless of the real or perceived communicable disease status of the patient, all students should follow Standard Universal Precautions:

  1. Wash hands before and after patient contact, even if gloves are used.
  2. Wear gloves when exposure to blood, body fluids, excretions or secretions is likely.
  3. Use gloves appropriately according to aseptic and/or sterile techniques, and change gloves between patients.
  4. Wear gowns/aprons when soiling of clothing with blood or body fluids is likely.
  5. Wear masks, face shields and eye protection when aerosolization of blood or body fluids may occur.
  6. Dispose of sharps in designated rigid sharps containers.
  7. Never recap needles or scalpel blades by hand.
  8. Dispose of waste saturated with blood or body fluids in designated red-bag trash containers.

AT Program Policies Regarding HIV/AIDS and Other Communicable Diseases

It is the policy of the University of Florida to assess the needs of students or employees with HIV infection or other communicable diseases on a case-by-case basis. If any such infection occurs in an athletic training student, any recommendations made or actions taken by the AT Program will respect the confidentiality and welfare of the student, while also recognizing and responding to issues regarding the welfare of patients, the College of Health and Human Performance and AT Program clinical affiliate sites. The AT Steering Committee evaluates each student’s situation on a case-by-case basis. With the permission of the affected student, the AT Program Medical Directors (physicians) will assist in the coordination of resources and services.

Candidates for selection to the athletic training program are required to verify understanding and compliance with the communicable disease policies described above.