I’ll occasionally come across stories that may be of interest to you and your son and daughter and I thought this was some good information to pass along especially if you have a son or daughter involved in athletics in the junior high or high school age range.
The National Athletic Trainers Association hosted a press conference to raise awareness about health and safety issues for secondary-school athletes in recreational, school and travel team activities. Attending the conference was Rams’ first round draft pick, defensive end Chris Long who was on hand to talk about his experiences with athletic trainers from an athlete’s standpoint. Also in attendance was Jon Almquist, VATL, ATC, chair of the task force and statement lead author, athletic training program administrator for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.
Listen to Long as he gives tips to young athletes on how they can better prepare for their seasons and Jon Almquist shares additional insight for parents and coaches.
Below is a checklist developed for parents and coaches to follow to help promote a safe and healthy sports enviroment.
1. Develop and implement a comprehensive athletic health care administrative system.
Organizations sponsoring athletic programs for secondary school-aged individuals should establish a comprehensive athletic health care team (AHCT) that ensures appropriate medical care is provided for all participants. The AHCT should coordinate the various aspects of the athletes’ health in a coherent, effective and professional manner.
2. Determine the individual’s readiness to participate
A pre-participation physical examination (PPE) is used to identify individuals who may be at risk for the development of injuries related to their activity and those who may be at risk for sudden death due to an underlying medical problem.
3. Promote safe and appropriate practice, competition and treatment facilities
Provide a safe environment for all athletes, including keeping the premises in safe repair, inspecting the premises for obvious and hidden hazards, removing the hazards if possible or warning of their presence.
4. Advise on the selection, fit, function and maintenance of athletic equipment
Provide access to appropriate equipment that is properly fit in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and maintained by qualified personnel.
5. Develop and implement a comprehensive emergency action plan
An emergency action plan (EAP) is essential to ensure that all incidents are responded to in an appropriate manner and that the roles of the AHCT members are well defined and communicated in advance.
6. Establish protocols regarding environmental conditions
It is crucial that organizations responsible for athletic events develop policies and protocols to address the safety of play in hazardous environmental conditions.
7. Provide for on-site recognition, evaluation and immediate treatment of injury and illness, with appropriate referrals
Having a qualified individual on site and ready to care for the ill or injured person is critical to the safety of the participants and for decision making regarding when an athlete can safely return to play.
8. Facilitate rehabilitation and reconditioning
The process of rehabilitation and reconditioning is fundamental for the safe return of injured athletes to their prior level of competition as quickly as possible and prevention of further injuries.
9. Provide for psychosocial consultation and referral
The AHCT should be able to identify potential psychosocial pathologies (e.g., disordered eating) frequently associated with secondary school-aged athletes and refer them for appropriate diagnosis and management.
10. Provide scientifically sound nutritional counseling and education
It is essential that valid and understandable information regarding nutrition be provided to secondary school-aged athletes, parents and coaches. Even more essential is the ability to refer athletes to appropriate medical personnel for treatment when necessary.
11. Develop injury and illness prevention strategies
A public health framework can be used to develop effective interventions to reduce the affliction of injuries and illnesses to these young persons.