Applying for the NATA Safe Sports School Award

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September 13, 2019

By Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) created the Safe Sports School Award to recognize secondary school athletic training programs that create steps and processes to keep their student athletes safe. Any secondary school Athletic Trainer (AT) can start the steps to receiving this award.The following sections are required to receive the award and the application addresses each section, in a “Yes” or “No” format.

1. Create a positive athletic health care administrative system

2. Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations

3. Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities

4. Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment

5. Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes

6. Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions

7. Provide or facilitate injury intervention

8. Create and rehearse venue-specific emergency action plan

9. Provide or facilitate psycho-social consultation and nutritional counseling/education

10. Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

Schools can be deemed first team, by meeting all requirements and second team, by meeting most of the requirements.

A great place to start is the 9-question quiz, called “Do you have a safe sports school?” When an AT answers the quiz with seven or mores “yes” answers, the AT and his/her program should be ready for the application. There is an application checklist, hyperlinked from this quiz, that will also guide an AT who is not quite ready for the full application.

Once an AT is ready to apply, the application can be submitted on paper or online. The cost is $150, but some regional associations have grants to help cover the cost. Contact your association for more information about Safe Sports School grants.

The application must be signed by the secondary school’s principal or athletic director, as well as the AT. If the application is accepted, the secondary school will receive a banner and additional artwork to promote the achievement. The award is good for three years, after which, the school and AT must reapply.

This award really focuses in on what an AT and athletic training program can and does do for the safety of athletes.If you are an AT, this process will give you a good idea of what your athletic training program should look like. And if you are a veteran AT, it a good reference for updating and checking on your current program.


Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC is pictured with the Safe Sports School award banner.


About the Author

Elizabeth augustine

Elizabeth L. Augustine, MS, LAT, ATC has been an Athletic Trainer since 2006 and lives in Claypool, Indiana. She graduated from Manchester College with degrees in Athletic Training and Exercise Science and a minor in Spanish in 2006. She received her Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Supervision for Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne in 2009. She currently works as an Athletic Trainer for a Sports Medicine doctor in Warsaw, Indiana. Her athletic training interests include concussions, creating policies and procedures, and injury rehabilitation. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, doing puzzles, and spending time with her husband and two young daughters.

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