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Safe Sports School
Sparta High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School 1st Team award, in recognition of the athletic training program provided to the school by Corewell Health, formerly Spectrum Health. The award recognizes secondary schools that have met rigorous standards for health and safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the highest level of care, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation to student-athletes.
"This award is a symbol of our commitment to keeping Spartan student-athletes safe during participation and providing them with the highest level of care if and when they are injured. Athletic Training and Sports Medicine at Sparta is not only an integral part of program success but is also a cornerstone of long-term athletic health and development", said Sparta Athletic Trainer Jason Burgess, MS, AT, ATC, CSCS. Jason has served as the athletic trainer at Sparta High School since 2021, transitioning over after a decade of service in the field.
“The health and safety of student athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Kathy Dieringer, EdD, LAT, ATC. “The National Athletic Trainers’ Association created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”
Physical activity is very important for our youth, according to former NATA president Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, CES. “There has been an increase in competitive sports, which are, unfortunately, not without risk. 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 notes.
In order to achieve Safe Sports School status athletic programs must do the following:
- Create a positive athletic health care 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 venue-specific Emergency Action Plans
- Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
- Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities
For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit www.athletictrainers.org.