Safe Sports School Success Story

September 11, 2014 by JordanG

Hawaii Baptist Academy’s Sam Lee, ATC, recently sent us an email sharing his excitement about earning a Safe Sports School Award.
In that email, Sam wrote: “Thanks for allowing us, helping us, enabling and empowering us to do something good for our community; not so much for the individual glory, but that people might see what a wonderful resource may be available to them with athletic trainers in their communities.”
Those of us in the NATA Headquarters who work on the Safe Sports School initiative were thrilled to see his words. You see, one of the questions we frequently receive from NATA members is: “It seems self-serving to apply for an award for myself.  How can I explain this to my administration?”
Sam felt the same way at first. Like most athletic trainers, he prefers to stay out of the limelight. It is always a bit awkward for me when publicity efforts for the profession include some attention on myself,” he told me in an email. But Sam understands that the Safe Sports School Award is for the school, not just the athletic trainer. Receiving the award creates an incentive for coaches to take proper training or follow accepted guidelines, an opportunity to discuss safety issues with parents and athletes and an atmosphere of “prevention works.”
Beyond that, the actual banner each winner receives to display at their school is a grassroots tool for raising awareness about the importance of athletic trainers and youth sports safety. Placing the banner in a highly visible place such as a school gymnasium demonstrates to parents and visitors that your school places a high priority on keeping athletes healthy and in the game. Those visitors might ask, “How do I get one of those awards for my school?”
Along with Sam and Hawaii Baptist Academy, we’re so excited about the 60 schools that applied for the award during our Safe Sports Championship this summer. (Congratulations to District Three for winning!) That brings our total number of Safe Sports Schools to 264, but we want that number to continue to grow. The greater the reach of this award, the more people will understand why sports safety has to be a priority in our schools. And that’s something everyone can get behind!
Have more questions about the Safe Sports School Award? Check out this previous post with a full FAQ about the program. 

Posted by NATA News Editor-in-Chief Jordan Grantham (
Photo courtesy of James Miura and originally published by Hawaii Baptist Academy.