National Athletic Trainers' Association
2016 NCYS STRIVE Award Finalist

Carrollton, Texas

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"Safety Starts Here"

The National Athletic Trainers' Association is committed to youth athletes. Founded in 1950, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is comprised of more than 35,000 members that work as athletic trainers in a variety of job settings, such as hospitals, secondary schools, clinics and universities.

Outreach and Education:
Ninety percent of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury during their athletic careers. NATA saw this staggering statistic and decided to take steps toward creating a safer environment and culture for youth athletes, and in 2009 NATA created the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, which now has more than 250 members. The mission of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance (YSSA) is to make America's sports programs safer for athletes. As the convener of YSSA, NATA launched the National Action Plan which gives specific guidance to policymakers about the steps needed in order to make participation in sports safer for our youth. Organized sports bring health benefits to children but the lure of college scholarship or a future professional sports career may tempt kids to ignore pain and injuries, with the result of lifelong injuries or even worse. Each year the YSSA hosts a Youth Sports Safety Summit, where YSSA members, policymakers, and health care experts are invited. The Youth Sports Safety Summit covers a wide variety of sports related topics such as new research, risk mitigation techniques, crisis management strategies, and best practices for injury prevention. In 2016, the Summit had a large impact on the public and received 127 million national media impressions.

Safe Sports Schools:
Over 54 million athletes participate in youth and high school sports each year. In 2013 NATA created the prestigious Safe Sports School Award. The award allows NATA to recognize secondary schools that have taken extra steps to ensure the safety of their student athletes. The award requires pro-active solutions, including requiring the school to have a comprehensive athletic health care plan, promote safe and appropriate environments, develop injury intervention strategies, rehearse an emergency action plan and promote a culture of safe play. To date, the Safe Sports School Award has been given to over 785 schools in 49 states. This award puts the student athletes' needs first and celebrates schools who are focused on safety.

Collaboration is Key:
NATA has also taken the lead on innovative partnerships by co-hosting Collaborative Solutions for Safety in Sport (CSSS) with the American Society for Sports Medicine. The goal of CSSS is to advance the safety of student athletes in secondary schools through educating stakeholder and by helping ensure that the guidelines for the Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Secondary School Athletics Programs: Best Practices Recommendations are adopted and enforced in all 50 states. Each year the meeting has had two representatives from each state's sports medicine advisory committee. A new topic is addressed each year, and after the meeting each of the representatives is able to take home new recommendations and resources created by the group.

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"Safety Starts Here"

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