Avera Medical Minute: Safe Sports Schools

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Some of the best memories a high school student will have will come from the field, the court, or any other sport they participate in.

O Gorman receives designation as safe sports school

In addition to building the character of the athlete, it's very important to protect their body, and help them heal should an injury occur, that's where the designation of a Safe Sports School is key.

Just a handful of schools in South Dakota have met the criteria, one of them O'Gorman High School. Steve Kueter is the O'Gorman High School Activities Director, "It just kind of tells the world what's going on here. It tells you their preparation, the things they do to prevent injuries is very good and the things they do when you have injuries and return those students back to the field or back to the court. We have a training staff that has received the highest level of award for taking care of those kids," said Kueter.

Having expertise is not a luxury. "It's definitely important to have an athletic trainer for the students. We are there when the injury happens," said Avera Athletic Trainer Taylor Bergh. "We are able to take care of that injury throughout the entire process, whether that's rehabilitation or also even referring to physicians in order to get the care that they need."

There was a long list of qualifications to meet to become a safe sports school according to Tiffany Giese, an Avera Athletic Trainer who also helps at O'Gorman. "We have ways for our students to get physical exams from doctors, we had to prove our facilities are safe, we have protocols set up for different types of injuries and illnesses," said Giese.

The National Athletic Trainers' Association is the organization that reviews and provides the safe sports school designation. Although O'Gorman being known as a safe sports school is something to be proud of, the trainers know the interaction goes deeper than just caring for the student's physical condition.

"We have kids that come in even when they're healthy, they just come in and hang out on the tables," said Giese. "We have to kick them out sometimes it gets so busy in here. But yea we love being in here. Just they'll come and tell us about their good days and their bad days."

The athletic trainer helps set each student's path for safety, healing, and the goal of a lifetime of physical fitness.

Other South Dakota schools receiving a safe sports school designation this year include Brookings, Flandreau, Canton, and Washington High School in Sioux Falls.

For more information on current schools that meet the status or to apply for your school to receive the designation, contact the National Athletic Trainers' Association.