RIVER FALLS, Wis.
Pictured with the award banner are: (Front row) Morgan Bohnert, Sydney Welke, Morgan Ista, Jenna Hovde, Kaitlin Sonday (Allina Health athletic trainer); (Back row) Gregg Matheson, Kenny Oberlin, Jon Krueger, Hunter Dolan, Joe Halling, Max Haskins, Cain Schneckenberger, Ben Baillargeon, Maddie Garin, Annie Wagner, Jacob Elliott (as Wiley the Wildcat).
River Falls High School has received the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award for its athletic training program, provided by Courage Kenny Sports and Physical Therapy-River Falls.
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. Funding for the preparation involved in attaining the Safe Sports School award was provided by the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association.
"Courage Kenny Sports and Physical Therapy - River Falls is honored to receive this recognition for the River Falls High School program from NATA. We are 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 the athletics program to the highest safety standards for the players," said Kaitlin Sonday, licensed athletic trainer with Courage Kenny Sports and Physical Therapy-River Falls, part of Allina Health.
Physical activity is very important for youth, according to 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 Sport School status, athletic programs such as that at River Falls High School 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 a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
- Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
- Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities
For more information, visit athletictrainers.org.