Educating parents and coaches on how to help children avoid common sports-related injuries is a top priority for certified athletic trainers who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses.
The Athletic Trainers' Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ) have created the following checklist to serve as a guide for parents, coaches, administrators and athletes to assure a safe and healthy environment; reduce the risk of injury or death; and in the event of injury, offer an effective emergency plan of action.
Safety Items Parents Should Look for in a High School Athletic Program
Full Time On Site Licensed Athletic Trainer?
Every school that has sports should have a qualified health care provider (a Licensed Athletic Trainer) who is educated in the prevention, immediate care, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.
Pre-participation Physical Evaluation for All Athletes Annually
A qualified medical physician should perform an annual physical evaluation prior to athletic participation. This document should be reviewed by the school based athletic health care provider, who would bring to the attention of the coaching staff, any student athlete participating with a medical alert (such as asthma, diabetes, etc.). Any genetic cardiac risk factors should be identified and reviewed by a medical physician prior to participation.
Team Physician/Consulting Physician
There should be a medical physician affiliated with the school who is well versed in sports medicine and concussion management.
The coaching staff should be required to participate in ongoing education in coaching techniques, CPR, and first aid.
Emergency plans should include a pre-established, well thought out plan of action that is implemented in the event of an emergency situation. Items should include, but are not limited to:
- Accessible entrance for EMS during games and practices.
- An accessible AED for games and practices.
- Necessary documentation should be readily available with emergency phone numbers and student’s medical conditions during all practices and games.
- Appropriate medical supplies should be available on their sidelines at home and away games and practices.
- Return to Participation Following Injury
A protocol needs to be established with the qualified athletic health care provider identified as an integral part of the decision making process. The licensed athletic trainer should be responsible for leading the communication between athlete, coach, parent, team physician, family physician, and others regarding the status of the athlete’s injury.
Concussion Policy and Guidelines
A written policy concerning the prevention, treatment and education of sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes should be in place.
Inclement Weather Protocol/Guidelines
Guidelines regarding inclement weather, such as lightning storms, extreme heat and extreme cold, should be established well in advance of the athletic season. Adequate methods for re-hydration should be available in all sports at all times with athlete education on proper hydration provided on regular basis.
- Encourage immediate showering following activity. Individuals with open wounds, scrapes or scratches should avoid whirlpools.
- Avoid sharing towels, razors and daily athletic gear.
- Properly wash athletic gear and towels after each use.
- Schools should maintain clean facilities and equipment at ALL times.
- Inform or refer to appropriate health care personnel for all active skin lesions and lesions.
- Care and cover skin lesion appropriately before participation.
Field/Facility Maintenance Plan
Fields and facilities must be maintained properly.
The equipment that the school provides should be safe, properly fitted, in good repair, and inspected on a regular schedule. Schools should maintain clean facilities and equipment at ALL times.
A person who is educated and trained in the conditioning of the adolescent athlete should design and monitor programs for ALL student-athletes.
Click below for a printable version
ATSNJ Parent/High School Safety Checklist
More helpful information for parents
ATSNJ Sports Safety for Coaches and Parents
ATSNJ Head Injury Information
ATSNJ Heat Illness Information
ATSNJ Cardiac Care and the AED
ATSNJ The Role of a Certified Athletic Trainer