Athletic Trainer Initiative Contest

October 9, 2015 by JordanG

The NFL Foundation’s AT Grant Initiative launched with a bang in May 2014 when President Barack Obama announced an important new partnership between NATA, the NFL Foundation and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society (PFATS) during the White House Healthy Kids and Concussion Summit in Washington, D.C. As part of the collaboration, the NFL Foundation and NFL teams agreed to provide $1 million and NATA agreed to contribute $125,000 to place ATs in underserved high schools in NFL markets.

The process of applying for the grant required each NFL team to independently research its community to identify schools or youth sports programs in need of athletic training coverage as well as health care partners in the area. The teams then work with allied health care providers to develop a model for coverage at the identified schools or programs.

Many NFL teams fully embraced the project, with 16 teams developing programs that impacted more than 160,000 youth athletes at more than 600 schools across the country.  NFL teams employed various athletic training models to provide coverage at local schools and youth sports programs. Some teams chose to fund full-time ATs, while others funded game coverage for multiple schools in their area.
NATA supported this initiative by working with Datalys and the Korey Stringer Institute to provide information and resources to help these programs to be successful. NATA also partnered with Johnson & Johnson and Gatorade to supply the schools with critical hydration and first aid supplies.
Building on Success
After seeing the positive impact the program in its initial year, the decision was made to grow the program to new heights in 2015. The NFL Foundation, NATA and PFATS, along with new partner Gatorade, have joined forces to contribute more than $2 million in 2015-16, more than doubling the initial investment. In addition to the extra funding, the groups will provide more educational resources, hydration solutions, equipment and programmatic support.
New Contest Offers Funding Opportunity
After a very successful pilot year for the NFL Foundation’s AT Grant Initiative, the program is adding an exciting new contest that will allow high schools the opportunity to apply for funding for an on-campus athletic trainer.

The Athletic Trainer Initiative, a partnership between the NFL Foundation, NATA and Gatorade, will provide 15 winning high schools with the grand prize of $50,000 in funding for an on-campus AT, as well as significant resources, product, equipment and more to support either the establishment of a new AT program or the expansion of an existing program. In addition to those 15 schools, 10 more first place high schools will win an “Athlete Safety Starter Kit,” including resources and tools to advocate for better youth athlete care, along with an athlete safety presentation.
Athletic trainers are encouraged to advocate for local high schools that need athletic training support and encourage school administrators, athletic directors, teachers and coaches to apply for this first-of-its-kind funding opportunity. Last year’s program targeted high schools in NFL markets, but this contest opens the funding opportunity to any high school in the country. Who can apply? Athletic directors, administrators, coaches or teachers.

Applications will be Oct. 9 - Nov. 12, and winning schools will be announced in early 2016.

For more information about eligibility and how applicants will be judged, visit the contest website at

Posted by NATA Communications Manager Jordan Grantham (