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    May 2014

    Keeping Student Athletes Safe at Your School

    Keeping students safe while they’re representing your school in athletics programs is of increasing importance. More than 7.7 million youth participated in high school sports in 2011-2012—with 1.3 million high school sports-related injuries that same year. Due to the large number of athletes and injuries, there is a growing need to ensure that students are playing safely.

    To help your school address this critical issue, United Educators (UE) created the Youth Athletics Learning Program. This program is a valuable tool targeted to coaches, athletic directors, student athletes, and school administrators. Higher education institutions that conduct youth sports camps on their campus will also find this program beneficial. Materials address two key areas that UE members indicated were the most crucial to maintaining a safe athletics program: concussions and heat illness.

    Heat illness is the leading cause of preventable deaths in youth athletics today. To help address this issue, the online mini-course (20 minutes) Heat Illness Prevention, covers:

    • Acclimating athletes to hot weather practice
    • The importance of hydration
    • Warning signs of exertional heat illness
    • Procedures for handling heat stroke

    Sports-related concussions have become a hot topic in youth athletics programs. It was the second most common sports injury in high school sports during the 2011-2012 school year. The online mini-course (20 minutes) Concussions: Recognition and Response teaches learners.

    • The signs and symptoms of concussions
    • The importance of reporting potential concussions experienced by the athlete or witnessed in other
    • Combatting the “culture of resistance” among some athletes and parents in which reporting and treating concussions is discourage

    In addition to these online courses, the Youth Athletics Learning Program includes the Best Practices Check Up, a self-evaluation tool to help schools determine how well they’re following best practices for athletic safety. Members can consult with a UE risk management professional by sending an email to risk@ue.org to discuss survey results and receive recommendations to reduce athletic risks.

    By Andreas Dangin, Risk Management Consultant and Erich Renken, E-learning Instructional Designer 

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