Grant program offers prep football teams access to athletic trainers
The NFL Foundation, in collaboration with Gatorade, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS), announced the launch of a pilot program to provide funding to public high schools with football programs that have limited or no access to an athletic trainer.
The NFL Foundation will award up to 150 grants to high schools in the four pilot states — Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon and Arizona. Each grant will be in the amount of $35,000 awarded over a three-year period to fund an athletic training program. The number of grants provided will be at the discretion of an appointed review panel.
“The NFL is committed to enhancing the safety of football at all levels,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are proud of the important work that athletic trainers do on the sidelines and in training facilities nationwide. We look forward to testing this pilot program as part of our effort to increase access to athletic trainers in local communities and improve sports safety for many more young athletes.”
Nearly two-thirds of high schools across the country lack a full-time athletic trainer and almost 30% of high schools do not have any athletic trainer at all. This pilot program will test ways in which to address this issue.
This pilot program builds on the NFL Foundation’s athletic trainer grant program established two years ago to help NFL teams increase access to athletic trainers in their communities. To date, 20 NFL clubs have utilized these grants to support local schools and leagues. This program has underscored the need for funding for athletic trainers and provided useful insight into potential methods of addressing this need.
The Korey Stringer Institute will lead the administration of the grant program and conduct research to assess the impact of the pilot program and the effect of athletic trainers on student athlete health outcomes.
“The massive responsibility of keeping many hundreds of athletes safe at a particular high school should never be the responsibility of a sport coach or the athletic director, they have no training to properly handle this task,” said KSI Chief Executive Officer Douglas Casa, PhD, ATC, FNAK, FACSM, FNATA. “We are very proud to partner with this grant program that has a primary goal of increasing the number of schools serviced by an athletic trainer and to enhance the amount of medical care for those that already have some.”
Eligible schools are encouraged to apply before the Dec. 16 deadline. Further information on the program and the grant process and eligibility can be found at: www.athletictrainergrant.com.