As part of the St. Louis Rams and the National Football League’s commitment to enhance sports safety, the Rams have announced that they are providing $15,000 to the Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) to fund a program to ensure certified athletic trainers are present at all of this season’s SLPS high school football games.
The certified athletic trainers, who will be provided by Athletico Physical Therapy, will deliver game day coverage throughout the 2015 season and will be assisted by athletic training students from Saint Louis University, who will gain clinical experience through the partnership. Athletico athletic trainers’ will also be covering weekly follow up checks during the season and providing ImPACT ® baseline concussion tests.
“When we learned that SLPS didn’t have certified athletic trainer coverage at their high school games, we were committed to find a solution to that issue,” said Reggie Scott, MS, ATC, PES, Director of Sports Medicine and Performance, St. Louis Rams. “While the game coverage was of paramount importance, it was also important to us that we provided necessary follow up care as well. We’re extremely proud that we were able to create a unique partnership with Athletico and Saint Louis University that will lead to a safer game for these student-athletes.”
According to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), only approximately 50 percent of high schools students nationwide have access to full-time certified athletic trainers (ATC), who play an important role in keeping young athletes safe. A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that the presence of athletic trainers can have a significant positive impact on student-athlete health, resulting in lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions for concussion and other injuries, and fewer recurrent injuries. However, access to ATCs is particularly challenging in low-income communities.
“The Saint Louis Public School District is humbled by the St. Louis Rams generosity,” said Martin Jenkins, Athletic Director, SLPS. “Funding such a vital aspect of interscholastic athletics is greatly appreciated. Adding trainers to the ongoing safety initiatives surrounding Public High League athletics will be a tremendous benefit to our student-athletes. We are proud to be associated with such great community partners as the St. Louis Rams, Saint Louis University, and Athletico.”
“Athletico is proud to support this important initiative and to provide services to SLPS,” said Jim Host, Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico. “It’s critical that Athletico helps to close the gap across the nation by providing student-athletes the services they need to get them back to the field of play.”
Also unique to this partnership, Saint Louis University will explore opportunities with SLPS to develop programs at select high schools that may foster students’ interest in potential careers in the health professions.
“We are delighted the established partnership will provide essential healthcare services to young athletes while allowing the athletic training students at Saint Louis University the opportunity to further develop their skills as competent health professionals who exhibit a continuous commitment to the Jesuit tradition,” said Mardell Wilson, Ed.D, RD, LDN, Dean of Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University.
In addition to the funding announced today, the Rams provided additional funds for Heads Up Football certification for all SLPS coaches. Heads Up Football is USA Football’s national initiative to make the game of football better and safer. Fully supported by the National Football League, this initiative is reshaping the football landscape by providing a comprehensive collection of resources, programs, applications and promotions to affect change and address the complex challenges of player health and safety at both the youth and high school levels.
At the conclusion of the 2015 season, the Rams will have contributed more than $80,000 to local youth and high school football efforts.