Niles High School Receives Safe Sports School Award from National Athletic Trainers’ Association
Mar 16, 2015 Share

(NILES) – Niles High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award, in recognition of the athletic training program provided at the school through Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Niles. The award champions safety and honors secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Niles, has offered athletic training services at Niles High School for more than 20 years. Certified athletic trainer Bob Taylor of Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Niles, has worked with student athletes at Niles High School for the past 16 years and is at the school every day, covering all home sports and traveling with the varsity football team. As an athletic trainer, Bob provides triage for common injuries, such as sprained ankles, stretched ligaments and injured shoulders, as well as working to prevent those injuries by taping, bracing, and conditioning. Athletic trainers will often refer students to their primary care physician or an orthopedist, depending on the nature of the injury.

“Niles High School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health,” said Jeff Upton, Athletic Director, Niles High School. “Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our student athletes.”

Physical activity is very important for our youth, according to NATA president Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, CES. “There has been an increase in competitive sports, which are, unfortunately, not without risk. Brain injury/concussion, cardiac arrest, heat illness, exertional sickling, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are potentially life-threatening.” Proper planning with proper equipment and personnel is vital to the safety of student athletes today, he notes.

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status, as Niles High School did, athletic programs must do the following:

• 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 of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

For more information about the Safe Sports School Award and the NATA, visit

Listen to Bob Taylor discuss the Safe Sport School Award on WSJM News

Pictured here are (left to right) Jeff Upton, Athletic Director at Niles High School, with Bob Taylor, certified athletic trainer for Lakeland Rehabilitation Services, Niles.

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