Program recognizes high schools that prioritize keeping young athletes safe
Saint Peter High School was recently announced as the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School first place award for its athletic programs, which is directed by Leah Rutz, Licensed Athletic Trainer for Saint Peter Public Schools.
The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment. Funding for this award was provided by the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association.
“Saint Peter High School is honored to receive this award,” Saints’ Activities Director Shea Roehrkasse said. “Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players. Just like in 2020, when we won this award previously, we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices, and games so they can accomplish their own goals.”
“The health and safety of student athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” NATA President Kathy Dieringer, EdD, LAT, ATC, said. “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 exponentially each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”
In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, as SPHS did, 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 a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
- 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
To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit www.athletictrainers.org.
In the above photo, SPHS's Certified Athletic Trainer Leah Rutz (back row, left of white banner) poses with several of the Saints' student athletes by the new Safe Sports School Award banner that will hang up in the school gym.