Athlete Safety First: From Youth To Professional Play

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The National Athletic Trainers’ Association will host a national press conference and unveil protocols and a high school program to keep athletes safe – from youth to professional levels of play. The press conference will take place Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. CDT at America’s Center in St. Louis.

Spine Injury

Medical experts will release an executive summary of an “Appropriate Care of the Spine Injured Athlete” inter-association consensus statement, an update to an original 1998 document.

Approximately 12,500 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported in the U.S. each year. Nine percent of these cases are due to participation in sports and recreational activities.

An athlete with a suspected spinal cord injury presents unique challenges for medical providers: equipment worn for protective purposes in sports can present a treatment barrier for basic or advanced life support to the athlete’s airway and chest.


Speakers will unveil updated recommendations to ensure best communication among the sports medicine team and to reduce the risk of catastrophic outcomes.

The statement task force writing group participants included:

  • MaryBeth Horodyski, EdD, ATC, LAT, vice president at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, task force chair
  • Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NREMT-I, senior associate athletic director for sports medicine at the University of Georgia
  • Jim Ellis, MD, FACEP, emergency physician/associate team physician for the Atlanta Falcons and American College of Emergency Physicians representative
  • Glenn Henry, dean of life sciences at Athens (Georgia) Technical College

High School/Athletic Trainer Program

Speakers will announce details of an expanded 2014 NFL Foundation athletic trainer (AT) high school grant program. Last year, the National Football League Foundation and NFL teams, in collaboration with NATA and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, provided $1 million to fund athletic trainers in NFL markets.

The initiative was created to help enhance the safety of high school student athletes and ensure that best practices to make sports safer are put into place.

Speakers include:

  • Jim Thornton, MA, ATC, CES, president, National Athletic Trainers’ Association
  • Jeff Miller, senior vice president, health and safety policy, National Football League
  • Reggie Scott, MS, ATC, PES, head athletic trainer and director of sports medicine and performance, St. Louis Rams
  • Jeff Kearney, senior director, sports marketing, Gatorade
  • Rick Burkholder, MS, ATC, president, Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society and head athletic trainer, Kansas City Chiefs

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