Student participation in high school sports in the U.S. has never been higher. In fact according to the National Federation of State High Schools Associations, participation has grown from an estimated four million participants during the 1971 school year to more than seven million in 2005. With levels of athletic participation on the rise, injuries are never far behind.


Parents, athletic trainers and coaches must work closely with high school athletes to ensure proper techniques and safety rules are followed before, during and after practices and games, said Brian Robinson, MS, ATC, LAT, chair of NATAs Secondary School Athletic Trainers Committee. While injury treatment and rehabilitation are important, prevention is critical.


According to a new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, high school athletes account for an estimated 1.4 million injuries during the 2005 school year. In an effort to reduce student injuries, NATA has developed the following seven tips to ensure that high school athletes are practicing sports safety for the best results:


1.       All young athletes should have pre-participation exams to ensure theyre fit for play.

2.       To avoid seasonal overuse, players should not participate in more than one sports team at a time.

3.       Always warm up before beginning any activity.

4.       During practice and play, take rest breaks when necessary.

5.       Replenish fluids regularly.

6.       Cool down and stretch after play.

7.       Parents, athletic trainers and coaches should always be alert to injuries, hold practices and games with adequate rest days built into the schedule and have an emergency plan in place.

The High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study was published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on
September 29, 2006, and reprinted in the December 13, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Certified athletic trainers affiliated with the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) at each participating school reported injury incidence and athletic exposure data for student athletes participating in nine sports: baseball, football, and wrestling (for boys); softball and volleyball (for girls); and basketball and soccer (for boys and girls).


About the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) 

Athletic trainers are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. Forty-two percent of high schools have access to athletic trainers. For more information, visit 




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