Middle School Sports Safety Infrastructure Project
Safe Sports Network’s Middle School Sports Safety Infrastructure Project Explained
Safe Sports Network provided sports safety services for high school and youth league athletes for many years. A suite of services has now been designed for middle schools. The goal was to establish important sports safety program elements over the 2015-2017 school years. This initiative was grant funded. We created and implemented systems that can largely be sustained by existing school staff. Safe Sports Network, at a minimum, will continue to consult to support schools in coming years. What follows is a brief description of each of the major elements of this program.
Emergency Action Planning: Emergency Action Plans provide coaches with a step-by-step plan for emergencies. Each plan has directions to the field for EMS. It will provide coaches a script of what to say to emergency responders. It will have a contact tree for coaches to alert the school staff and parents. This plan allows for a smooth response to an emergency situation. Advance planning reduces panic so that children have calm, competent care.
Red Flag Review: A sports medicine expert will work with the school nurse to screen athletes’ medical forms for red flags. It is imperative that coaches be aware of pre-existing medical conditions. Plans will be developed for each coach in case of an emergency related to a pre-existing medical condition.
ImPACT and Balance Testing: ImPACT and balance testing will be conducted at most schools. The ImPACT test is used to determine your child’s baseline reaction time, memory and processing ability. The balance test is used to determine your child’s baseline balance. The tests are not used to diagnose a concussion. These tools are only one of the many things a healthcare professional will use to determine when your child is safe to return. Athletes will have access to Safe Sports Network’s free sports injury clinic to assist with concussion management.
Concussion Management: Every concussion is unique. It is impossible to make accurate predictions about recovery. Concussion guidelines will be created. Guidelines ensure everyone has similar general expectations. This will smooth the way for your athletes’ safe return to learning and sports.
Coach Education: A major goal of this program is to teach coaches enough to care for your athletes until help arrives. Coaches will learn CPR and first aid. All will complete the CDC’s Concussion Training Course. Coaches will learn about injury identification to foster a safe environment for your children. Training can be made available for school coaches groups upon request.
Injury Evaluation: Athletes may go to the Safe Sports Network Sports Injury Clinic to have injuries evaluated weekdays after school (by appointment only). The athletic trainer will evaluate injuries and make recommendations that may include a home program or referral to another healthcare provider.