Tag Archives: spotter

Oft-Criticized NFL Gets It Right by Funding Athletic Trainers at High Schools

Say what you want about the NFL and its self-serving ways from time to time. But its latest announced initiative will help reduce concussions. Specifically:

“The NFL Foundation, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Gatorade and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) have announced the winners of the Athletic Trainer Initiative, a national grant contest to expand access to athletic trainers in underserved high schools and improve youth athlete safety. The fifteen winning schools each received $50,000 to develop athletic training programs that will provide nearly 5,000 student athletes with consistent access to this valuable resource. The announcement was made at the seventh-annual Youth Sports Safety Summit, hosted by NATA and the Youth Sports Safety Alliance.

The winners of the national grant contest are (more details included below):

  • Alden-Conger Public School (Alden, MN)
  • Attica Central School (Attica, NY)
  • California Lutheran High School (Wildomar, CA)
  • Canyon Ridge High School (Twin Falls, ID)
  • Carlisle High School (Henderson, TX)
  • John Muir High School (Pasadena, CA)
  • Lutheran High School (Chula Vista, CA)
  • Marist High School (Bayonne, NJ)
  • Mount St. Michael Academy (Bronx, NY)
  • Orrick R-XI High School (Orrick, MO)
  • Pleasant Valley High School (Chico, CA)
  • Anthony Village High School (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Thomas More High School (Rapid City, SD)
  • Walpole High School (Walpole, MA)
  • William V. Fisher Catholic High School (Lancaster, OH)

Ten additional high schools will receive an athletic safety presentation given by a local athletic trainer and a safety kit, which includes a Hydration Starter Kit from Gatorade and educational materials.

“This effort addresses a critical need and provides the means for these high schools to establish athletic training programs that will enhance the health and safety of their student athletes,” said Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of health and safety policy. “This is an area of priority for us, and we will continue to work with our partners to expand access to athletic trainers in more schools across the country.”

Athletic trainers play a vital role in the health and safety of athletes. A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that the presence of athletic trainers resulted in lower overall injury rates, improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions for concussion and other injuries, and fewer recurrent injuries for student athletes. However, nearly two-thirds of high schools lack a full-time athletic trainer and almost thirty-percent do not have access to any athletic training services. This grant contest helps to tackle this need by providing schools with the necessary funding, educational resources, and programmatic support to put athletic trainers on the sidelines and better protect their athletes.

“A top priority of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association is the health and safety of the high school athlete,” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “Through our partnership with the NFL, Gatorade and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, more students will be protected with the best possible safety measures in place.”

The grant contest, which launched in October, is an extension of the partners’ athletic training outreach program. The partners have committed more than $3 million to help fund athletic trainers in communities nationwide. To date, the outreach program has impacted an estimated 160,000 student athletes across more than 670 schools.

“We understand the importance of secondary school athletic trainers and believe partnerships like this one are key to ensuring youth athlete safety,” said Jeff Kearney, head of Gatorade Sports Marketing. “This program has brought us one step closer to the ultimate goal of having a full-time athletic trainer in every high school in the country, and we are proud to have worked with the NFL, NATA and PFATS on this important initiative.”

“The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society is pleased to be a part of this important initiative,” said Rick Burkholder, MS, ATC, PFATS president and head athletic trainer of the Kansas City Chiefs. “Athletic trainers play a critical role in the overall safety of all athletes, and the students at these winning schools will receive the medical services they so deserve.”

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Experimental Rule Requiring Medical Observer Recommended for College Football

By Greg Johnson, of the NCAA

To continue to address player safety concerns, the NCAA is moving forward with an experimental rule in football to allow medical observers to notify game officials when a player appears to have suffered a head/neck injury.

Under the rule recommended Monday by the NCAA Football Rules Committee, officials would immediately stop the game when notified to remove the player for medical evaluation. The rule would take effect for the 2015 season.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which could finalize the rule Thursday via conference call.

College Football Officiating endorsed a proposal from the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conferences to make this change for player safety reasons.

The medical observer could sit in the press-box booth with the instant-replay official. If the medical observer suspects a player has a head/neck injury that has gone undetected by the on-field officials, the medical observer would alert the instant-replay official, who would contact the referee to stop the game so the player could be removed and evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

The conference-assigned medical observer also could be located on the sidelines instead of the instant-replay booth.

In non-conference games, the visiting team could choose whether it wants to play the game using the experimental rule if the home team intends to use this provision.

If this experimental rule is approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, conferences would be asked to submit a report to the NCAA Football Rules Committee at its 2016 meeting in February, at which time the committee could entertain a proposed permanent change to the rules.

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University of Minnesota to Use Concussion Spotter in Press Box

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today that beginning with the Northwestern game on Saturday, the University of MInnesota will station an athletic trainer in the press box for the purposes of identifying hits that could have led to a concussion.

The move was precipitated by the controversy at a University of Michigan football game on September 27, where Wolverine Quarterback Shane Morris suffered a brutal hit to the head from Gophers defensive end Theiren Cockran, but was allowed to return to the game a few plays later.

Michigan placed an athletic trainer in the press box the following week.

According to a MIchigan press release, the athletic trainer will be responsible for maintaining a full view of the field of play and identifying any players who may need further evaluation by a medical team member as well as have access to the television video feed and will be able to communicate immediately and directly with medical team members on the sidelines.



Injury updates


Foster Bush, who has started the past nine games at right guard for the Gophers, will miss Saturday’s game with an unspecified injury, Kill said. Cornerback Derrick Wells (hamstring) is listed as questionable for the game.


Starting left guard Zac Epping has been playing through a high-ankle sprain, but Kill said he’s been moving around better. So it sounds like Epping will be ready to make his 40th consecutive start.


Reserve guard Joe Bjorklund also has been banged up, but he should be ready to play, and Isaac Hayes is another top reserve at guard.



Cornerback commits


The Gophers landed a commitment from Antonio Shenault, a cornerback from Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park High School in the Chicago suburbs. The 5-11, 175-pound Shenault is a consensus three-star recruit who also has reported offers from Iowa State and Northern Illinois. He announced the news on Twitter.


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