Avera Medical Minute: Brookings High School receives Safe Sports School Award from National Athletic Trainers Association

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Brookings High School has received the Safe Sports School award from the National Athletic Trainers Association recognizing all that they do to ensure the safety of their student athletes.

“It’s throughout the whole country, only certain schools get it and we’re excited that for the second time we’ve received this award,” said Randy Soma, Brookings School District activities administrator.

“It’s special because it means our administration, our coaches and our training staff are all on the same plan and in the same direction,” said Lee Schmidt, Brookings High School head football coach.

Schmidt and Soma say the Safe Sports School award wouldn’t be possible without their Avera athletic trainers.

“It’s an extension of our coaching staff. They’re out at practices, they’re making our facilities better, they’re checking equipment -- they’re just another valuable part of our program,” said Soma.

“We kind of look at it like having another coach because it takes some of the responsibility away from us. They’re there, whether it be a serious injury, or just things that we have to take care of during practice. Sometimes it’s even dealing with equipment safety things,” said Schmidt.

“The more you get to know an athlete outside of an injury, the easier it is to, once they do have an injury, kind of understand how they’re perceiving the pain, what’s going on and just trying to kind of get to know the patients that you’re working with everyday,” said Angela Brown, Brookings High School head athletic trainer.

Brown is one of Brookings High School’s two athletic trainers. She says communication is key when it comes to the safety of student athletes.

“I try to meet with all the coaches on a daily basis before practices to let them know what’s exactly going on with the different athletes, if they can go half of practice or a full practice, if we’re following up with a physician or any other health care provider at that point,” said Brown.

Schools must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for the award. Brookings High School met all of them including providing a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes, developing injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions, creating and rehearsing venue specific Emergency Action Plan and planning for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment.

“It means that we’re putting a very diligent effort into trying to help prevent injuries from happening, that we’re trying to document the different steps that we’ve taken to minimize the risk of injury, and I think it also gives parents that sense of peace and awareness that we’re trying to use all the different resources out there and just trying to create the best safe environment for their athletes,” said Brown.

“With a training staff right here, and a really good training staff, we’re able to make sure that our kids stay safe,” said Schmidt.

The Safe Sports School award recognizes schools across the country that go above and beyond to help ensure the safety of their student athletes.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.