Lakota West recognized for providing safe environments for student athletes

Lakota West High School has won national honors for its athletic program who help mend and keep school athletes healthy.

The West Chester Twp. high school has won the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe School award, said school officials.

The award recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes.

“This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur,” said NATA President Tory Lindley.

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries.

The NATA represents 44,000 athletic trainers nationwide and winners of the annual honor must meet a number of performance criteria, which includes providing or coordinating pre-participation physical examinations; promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities; provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes and develop injury and illness prevention strategies.

Lakota West is one of two high schools in the Lakota school system and is among the schools with the largest enrollments in Ohio.

Scott Kaufman, athletic director for Lakota West, said the school appreciates the honor, saying proper care from athletic trainers benefits both school athletes and all other students who participate in gym classes.

“Lakota West 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 Kaufman.

Earlier this year the 16,500-student Lakota district signed a $3.5 million agreement with two local healthcare providers, putting more athletic trainers in schools and expanding student internships and scholarships.

The agreement with Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and Christ Hospital Health Network provides six full-time athletic trainers — three at Lakota West and its feeder schools and the same for Lakota East High School and its affiliated schools.

Chris Passarge, chief operations officer for Lakota, said “we value our partnership with Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and the Christ Hospital Health Network. Our students benefit from athletic trainer services and strength and conditioning coaching for grades 7-12 throughout the district.”

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