Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Longtime trainer may return to position

ENCINITAS — As the athletic training service provider to San Dieguito Union High School District high schools continues negotiations to bring back the longtime trainer at Torrey Pines, the school district is also considering revamping its trainer service contract model, which school district officials said is obsolete.

“We’re headed to a much wider discussion, working with school sites to look at what services we need to be providing through the contract,” said Eric Dill, the associate superintendent of business services. “It’s time to modernize it.”

The decision comes after the district’s recently-approved contract with Kearny Mesa-based Rehab United had come under fire from by parents who, following the company’s decision to part ways with trainer Christina Scherr, questioned provisions in the company’s contracts with athletic trainers that required them to refer student athletes to their facilities or face termination.

Parents and critics said the discovered clause created a conflict of interest with trainers if they believed a different facility or a hospital could provide better services to the student.

District officials have discussed with Rehab United removing the contract language, as well as another provision that outlines a compensation program in which trainers are paid a 15 percent commission for signing athletic teams up for the company’s other services, such as a strength and conditioning program or injury prevention courses.

Scherr, Dill said, appears to be returning to Torrey Pines.

“Nothing is yet official, but I have heard nothing but positive things,” Dill said.

Beyond those issues, Dill said, the discussion with parents and the trainer unveiled a need to look at the training contract model, which had been in place for nearly a decade when the district first hired Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy to provide trainers at football games.

Since that time, the number of trainers, the sports they serve and the services they render have outgrown the original agreement, yet officials never comprehensively reviewed the contract.

School district officials said they didn’t overhaul the contract when they recently sought proposals for training services because they held out hope Gaspar would resume the services.

The contract doesn’t cover certain services, such as postseason play, preseason tournaments or weekend games, of which parent foundations currently raise money to cover the costs.

Dill said the district is going to look at these services to determine if it is time to fold them into the contract.

“It doesn’t make sense to cobble the services together,” Dill said. “We need to sit down with the schools, the athletic directors, coaches and trainers and ask, ‘What should we be providing?’”