High schools and colleges promoting football safety

High schools and colleges promoting football safety
Peru State athletic trainer Brent Melvin

The states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, their respective Athletic Training organizations, and the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) have organized a “Safety in Football Campaign” in order to promote player safety in football. It is the goal of this campaign to help each and every football team to identify ways in which they can decrease the risks of injury and keep the focus on the fun, camaraderie, and competitive spirit of the game.

Throughout this season, numerous high schools and colleges have been donning a small helmet sticker on the back of players’ helmet. The sticker represents the cumulative efforts of these schools and the Athletic Training community towards improving safety in football across the conference and our states.

Last weekend (Oct. 27) was the primary date that the Heart conference and its schools participating in football encouraged its members to take part in the campaign. However, several schools, including Peru State will sharing the information at its upcoming home game as the Bobcats were on the road on Oct. 27.

Peru State athletic trainer Brent Melvin was pleased to see the athletic training organizations taking part in sharing the importance of safety for all student- athletes. Melvin noted, “As an athletic training staff, we take great pride in providing the best healthcare possible to all of our athletes. Each of our four athletic trainers is nationally certified and licensed in the state of Nebraska.” In addition, Melvin added, “Before your child begins playing a sport in high school or college, find out if they have appropriate medical care available for their athletes.”

The Bobcat football team will be wearing a sticker recognizing the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association during its game Saturday against Culver-Stockton. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. in the Oak Bowl on Peru State’s campus and air on KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM and ncnsportsnow.com.

In addition to the stickers, public service announcements will be made throughout the game.

Football is one of the most popular sports among youth athletes, and it leads all other sports in the number of injuries sustained. Over 54% of athletes report playing with or through an injury, and over 300 sport-related deaths have occurred in the last decade. However, by working together and advocating for an Athletic Trainer as your sideline or courtside medical professional, we can help save lives and bring safety to the field of competition.

Each year coaching staffs across the state spend numerous hours coaching, teaching, and mentoring football athletes on skill development, technique, and safety in the game of football. Unfortunately, these efforts in themselves are not sufficient to mitigate the inherent risks of the sport.  This is why athletic trainers are such vital components of safe and successful football teams. “Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.” – National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

All across the conference, athletic trainers are providing their clinical skill and expertise each and every day to improve the overall health and safety of their athletes. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the presence of athletic trainers in the secondary schools lowers overall injury rates, improves diagnosis and return-to-play decisions, and reduces the risk for recurrent injuries.  In fact, the placement of athletic trainers in every secondary school that offers an athletic program is recommended by both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. The Heart of America Athletic Conference recognizes the need and expertise of these health care professionals, and require Athletic Trainers for both home and away teams at all football contests, as well as all host institution athletic events sponsored by the Conference throughout the year.

There are tremendous benefits for athletes who participate in football. These athletes have increased self-esteem, lower dropout rates in school, and demonstrate a stronger involvement in their school and community.  It is the goal of the “Safety in Football Campaign” to help each and every football team in our states identify ways in which they can decrease the risks of injury and keep the focus on the fun, camaraderie, and competitive spirit of football.

To learn more about sport safety visit www.atyourownrisk.org or follow on Twitter and Facebook @asaferapproach #safetyinfootball

To contact the organizer of this campaign– or to schedule an interview, contact Rob Carmichael, MA, ATC at: (217) 242-1134 or rcarmichael@culver.edu.

About the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NSATA)
The mission of the NSATA is to lead and foster the continued growth and development of athletic trainers as healthcare professionals in Nebraska through representation and advocacy.