Keeping prep athletes safe

LeConte Sports Medicine, county high schools earn Safe Sports School Award
Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:11 AM

Gatlinburg-Pittman, Pigeon Forge, Seymour and Sevier County High Schools, in conjunction with LeConte Sports Medicine, have all been selected as the recipients of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School Award for their Secondary School Athletics.

The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The honor reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.

Since 2001 LeConte Sports Medicine has provided Certified Athletic Trainers, medically-licensed healthcare providers, to cover all sports at Sevier County’s four high schools.

LeConte Sports Medicine coordinates the athletic healthcare for students, providing comprehensive on-site services for Gatlinburg-Pittman, Pigeon Forge, Seymour and Sevier County High Schools. These services include injury/illness prevention and wellness protection, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate and emergency Care, treatment and rehabilitation, organizational and professional health and well-being.

“LeConte Sports Medicine is honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the Sevier County High Schools,” said Scott Byrd, ATC/LAT, LeConte Sports Medicine Coordinator. “This Sports Medicine program is the first in Tennessee to receive such an award and one of only 48 in the United States.

“By receiving this award from the NATA, we ensure that we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.

Byrd continued, “This is not the first time the LeConte Sports Medicine program has received an award of national recognition, but the endorsement of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) is a excellent endorsement of the quality of care that we provide here in Sevier County. We are excited about the opportunity to provide excellent care to every athlete in Sevier County as we will be growing our program to include Northview Academy this fall.”

Physical activity is very important for youth, according to NATA president Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, CES.

“There has been an increase in competitive sports, which are, unfortunately, not without risk,” he said. “Brain injury/concussion, cardiac arrest, heat illness, exertional sickling, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are potentially life-threatening.”

Proper planning with proper equipment and personnel is vital to the safety of student athletes today, he noted.

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status athletic programs must do the following:

· Create a positive athletic healthcare 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 of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

“The health and safety of our student athletes is a high priority of the Sevier County School System,” Dr. Jack A. Parton, Sevier County’s director of schools, said. “I am pleased that the National Athletic Trainers’ Association has selected our athletic programs to receive the Safe Sports School Award.

“The partnership between the Sevier County School System and LeConte Sports Medicine has been valuable in our efforts to prevent physical injuries and to promote a level of treatment and rehabilitation that supports the health and well-being of our student athletes. The athletic trainers serving each school have been instrumental in our efforts to facilitate a safe and productive environment within our sports programs.”

For more information about NATA or the award please visit: www.athletictrainers.org.