District Five schools honored as Safe Sports School

Dutch Fork High School and Irmo High School International School for the Arts are the recipients of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award for its entire sports program.

The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standard to improve safety in sports and reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.


Irmo High School Safe Sports School award: Front Row: Jala Hayes, Maia Lawson, Dorien Brown, Elianny Mejia, Summer Cochran. Middle Row: Dallas Bess, Katelyn Dill, Julie Hillard, Grace Chong. Back Row: Jenny Mason (Assistant Athletic Trainer), Haley Gordon, Shiyana Guilbert, Tirzah Hopp (Assistant Athletic Trainer) Tim Kinney (Head Athletic Trainer).

“It’s exciting that Irmo High School has been awarded the Safe Sports School Award – 1st team by the National Athletic Trainers Association,” said Tim Kinney, head athletic trainer. “It takes hard work and a coordinated effort by team physician, Dr. Koon, as well as athletic trainers, physical therapists, student athletic training aides, nurses, and other health care professionals to make sure our athletes at Irmo High School receive the best care available. We take pride in providing some of the best health care to the athletes of Irmo High School and Irmo Middle School and keeping the athletes healthy while playing sports.”

“Being named to the 1st Team as a Safe Sports School shows that we have put the safety of our student-athletes first and foremost,” said Dutch Fork High School assistant athletic director and athletic trainer and Mack Harvey. “We are truly honored to be given this distinction by the National Athletic Trainers Association.”

Dutch Fork High School Safe Sports School award. Front Row- Shanna Ramsey, Mack Harvey (Head Athletic Trainer), Arriana Juarez, Lainey Ormsby, Morgan Harsch, Bailey Miller, Nia Brown, Juda Jones, John Demailly (Athletic Trainer), Amy Krebs (Athletic Trainer). Back Row- Preston Wise, Tanner Weseman, Emma Blackmon, Trina Christian, Zahria ross, Austin Blevins, Jaila Evans.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association is a professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. The award gives recognized high schools Safe Sports School status for a three-year period.

“The health and safety of student-athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to enhancing safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow exponentially each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status athletic programs must:

Create a positive athletic health care 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 about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

Irmo High School and Dutch Fork athletics compete in the South Carolina High School League region four, class 5A division. The schools each offer 21 sports for both boys and girls.

“We’re so excited that our school and Coach Harvey have received this recognition,” said Dr. Gerald Gary, Dutch Fork High School principal. “We are proud knowing that our parents feel comfortable with their children participating in athletics at Dutch Fork High.”

“I take great pride in our athletic department for taking proactive steps to keep our student-athletes free from injuries,” said Dr. Robin Hardy, Irmo High School principal. “Our athletic trainers are first class and provide a comprehensive approach to meet the high standards of this national professional organization.”

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit www.athletictrainers.org.

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