Spain Park football player Grey Best gets looked over after leaving the game with an injury. Spain Park and Oak Mountain high schools were each honored for their athletic training programs by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Photo by Dan Starnes.
Keeping our high school athletes on the field is important. Keeping them safe while doing so is even more important.
Hoover High and Spain Park High are recipients of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award for their athletics programs. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student-athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.
“Hoover High School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student-athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players,” HHS Athletic Director Andy Urban said.
“With the sharp increase in the number of sports injuries in youth today, we as athletic trainers are playing a pivotal role in raising awareness and providing education on how to reduce injuries,” said Spain Park athletic trainer John Hardin. “We at Spain Park High School have a comprehensive sports medicine program that was recognized by the NATA as one of the Safe Sports School 1st Team recipients. Our mission as a sports medicine team is to enhance and extend the student-athletes’ playing careers and create a love for exercise and healthy activity. This award validates our efforts toward this goal.”
Physical activity is very important for youth, according to NATA President Jim Thornton. “There has been an increase in competitive sports, which are, unfortunately, not without risk,” Thornton said. “Brain injury/concussion, cardiac arrest, heat illness, exertional sickling, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are potentially life-threatening.” Proper planning with proper equipment and personnel is vital to the safety of student-athletes today, he noted.
In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, athletic programs must do the following:
Create a positive athletic healthcare administrative system
Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
Plan for selection, fit, function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
Provide or facilitate injury intervention
Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
Ensure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities