As coaches and administrators, you are responsible for many aspects of your athletic program including athlete safety and injury prevention. Depending on your sport, district, club, or program, you may or may not have access to an athletic trainer. The AATA would like to advocate for all sport clubs, secondary schools, and sport teams to consider employing an athletic trainer during practice and games. Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals specializing in athlete safety and injury prevention, they work directly with you to provide care for athletes.  

Athletic Trainers and coaching/administration staff share some common interests: we care about the team's health and safety, we are entrusted with the health and safety of all participants, and we all want to see the team be successful by reaching their full potential in during competition.  

You can advocate for athlete safety by taking an active role in the school by following concussion protocol, turning in injury reports, and setting an expectation for sportsmanship. Coaches should encourage athletes to participate in multiple sports throughout the year to prevent chronic overuse injuries that are caused by early sport specialization.  Preseason sport specific conditioning should also be a focus of coaches, athletic trainers are educated in sport specific injury prevention programs to address injuries common to each sport.


National Federation of High schools

"Success alone does not make a team great until it is paired with effective coaching. Effective coaching runs deeper than wins and losses, it also includes reaching athletes on an individual level. Coaches who focus on positive, personal relationships with their athletes are ensuring success beyond their record on the field." The NFHS shows their committment to athlete safety by providing several coaches training courses described below. 

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at your own risk-administrators

"As a school administrator you are already aware of all the benefits of a robust high school athletic program. Studies show that student athletes are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to attend college, less likely to have heart disease and more likely to succeed in their careers." Be part of the change.


NCAA concussion information

"While sport-related concussion is an inherent risk in all contact and collision sports, the SSI has taken a leadership role, in collaboration with multiple key stakeholders, in evaluating the impact of concussions and repetitive head impact, as well as developing groundbreaking research and best practices to mitigate the potential effects of head injuries in sport."


Quick links and other resources

Check out our links and forms page for other great resources!

Secondary School Employment Grant: The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is pleased to offer a special rate of $100 to qualifying secondary schools posting a full-time job. The Career Center Secondary School Employment Grant Program is designed to help secondary schools that wish to utilize the NATA Career Center and request financial assistance. 

Youth Sports Safety: Information on the Youth Sport Safety Alliance/Summit, Safe Sport Schools, and the NFL AT Initiative.

At Your Own Risk Resources: Learn about the importance of youth sports, injury prevalence, common overuse injuries and more!

Heads Up: Concussion information, statistics, and online training directed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Funding Appropriate Medical Care: Discusses the worth, employment, and funding of an athletic trainer in the secondary school setting.

Does your school have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)? This is a vital component to assure any emergency situation is handled quickly and efficiently and the injured child receives the best care. The school administration, staff, and coaches should hold practice sessions so everyone knows their job should an emergency arrive. This ensures each participant knows their job and the patient needing care receives it as soon as possible. 

Does your school have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)? It is critical to have an AED on hand in multiple locations in schools. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the number one cause of student athlete deaths every year. If it is not feasible financially, there are many companies offering grants to make sure all schools have an AED. Get involved and help make sure your schools are properly equipped.

To learn more about why EAP's and AED's are important, check out  some of the stories below:

Claire's Story

Three Minutes in September by Gatorade Performance Partner


NFHS Courses

  • Concussion in Sports

    • The NFHS has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports. This course highlights the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes, teaches how to recognize a suspected concussion, and provides protocols to manage a suspected concussion with steps to help players return to play safely after a concussion. Each state's requirements for concussion management are included as part of the course.

  • Heat Illness Prevention

    • Exertional heat stroke is the leading cause of preventable death in high school athletics. Exertional heat stroke also results in thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations throughout the nation each year. This free course, brought to you by EAS Sports Nutrition, a division of Abbott Labs, is designed to give you the critical information you need to minimize the risk of exertional heat stroke among your athletes. The course presents seven fundamentals, which when followed, will minimize heat related illnesses of the students who participate.

  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest

    • Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the number one cause of death in the United States for student athletes during exercise. Caused by a structural or electrical problem associated with the heart, Sudden Cardiac Arrest happens when the heart unexpectedly stops beating and pumping blood. With content developed by Simon’s Fund, this course will help you learn and recognize the warning signs and symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Also included are tips for what to do in the critical moments after an individual suddenly collapses in order to save their life.

  • Nutrition

    • Proper nutrition can optimize athletic performance. This course hosted by sports medicine specialist Dr. Mick Koester, can help your students be performing at their peak. As a coach, this course contains practical tips on how you can model and teach proper nutrition to your athletes.

  • Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment

    • Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment defines and provides recommendations for coaches in three specific areas; inappropriate relationships and behaviors, hazing, and bullying (including cyberbullying). This course educates coaches about their legal responsibility to provide a safe and respectful environment for the students in their care.