Florence High School (FHS) is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association
(NATA) Safe Sports School award for its Florence High Athletics. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports.
“Florence High School is honored to receive this First Team recognition from NATA,” said Athletic Director Brian Huskey. “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.”
According to FHS Athletic Trainer Kira Berch, “Florence High School has grown over the years in improved safety of athletes…As a school’s athletic trainer, our goal is beyond providing emergency treatment on the football field. We evaluate/plan emergency action plans for each sport, provide on-site emergency care for every home sporting event in a school year, guide optimal referrals, and use specialized techniques to keep players in the game to keep our athletes safe and to reach national recognition such as this.”
“The health and safety of student-athletes are critical, as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to enhancing safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow exponentially each year, as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”
In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, as FHS has, athletic programs have to clear many hurdles, namely creating a positive athletic health care administrative system; providing or coordinating pre-participation physical examinations; promoting the safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities; planning for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment; providing a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes; developing injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions; providing or facilitating injury intervention; creating and rehearsing a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan; providing or facilitating psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education; and ensuring athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities.
To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, visit www.athletictrainers.org.