Safe Sports School Award: Instructions




The NATA Safe Sport School Award platform will undergo scheduled maintenance starting April 12 and last approximately four weeks. During this time, access to the website will be temporarily unavailable. NATA will notify members once the platform is back online.

Applications received in full, including payment (Applications on Step 4), before April 12 will be processed by May 31. Applications received prior to April 12 that are not on Step 4 by April 12 will require reapplication.  

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to enhance our system. Thank you for your cooperation.

Effective January 1, 2024, Grant Payments for awards will be reimbursed and are unable to be accepted ahead of the application process.

Due to high traffic on the awards site, the current turnaround time for the application and notification processes may take up to 4 months. Your patience is appreciated as we work to manage these circumstances. Please bear with us as we make every effort to improve our process. Please note that all application materials must be submitted online through the application material. An individual application is required for each school. Paper applications will no longer be accepted as of January 1, 2020 and may result in significant delay of response.


The Safe Sports School Award application package consists of two parts:

  1. Background and Detailed explanation of components of an Safe Sports School Award (SSSA)

  2. Safe Sports School Award Application


Schools may earn a 1st Team or 2nd Team Safe Sports School award.

  • 1st Team awards are given to schools that have acted on all Recommended and Required elements of a safe sports school.
  • 2nd Team awards are for schools that have completed only required elements.



Any secondary school may apply for the award. Applications must be signed by the school’s principal or athletic director and an athletic trainer or team physician.



The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) will review applications and grant an award to schools meeting qualifications for either 1st Team or 2nd Team. NATA does not require backup documentation or related materials, nor will NATA inspect the athletic program of any applicant school. Instead, NATA relies on the representations made by the applicant school, and requires each school to certify the accuracy of its responses, and that all such responses are truthful and complete. Any school not meeting the designated qualifications will not be granted the award. 



Schools qualifying for either 1st or 2nd Team will receive a banner and a certificate suitable for framing. The award is granted for a three (3) year period, and a new application must be submitted upon expiration if the school wishes to maintain its status.

Schools will also receive digital artwork that may be duplicated for other uses, consistent with NATA guidelines for this trademarked logo. The School, PTA or booster club may, for example, use the artwork to raise funds to buy equipment for the Athletic program in addition to promoting the leadership of the school.



Effective January 1, 2024, Grant Payments for awards will be reimbursed and are unable to be accepted ahead of the application process.

The non-refundable, new application fee for the award is $150. The non-refundable, renewal application fee for the award is $100. Please note that individual payments must be submitted for each school/application. Payment of the application fee does not ensure that the school will be granted the Safe Sports School Award (SSSA). 

Fees are accepted through Credit Card via the award portal or Check.

Please write the name of the school within the memo of the check. Please make the check out to NATA. Payments should be sent to:

c/o Safe Sports School Award
Dept # 42167
P.O. Box 650823
Dallas, TX  75265-0823



It is estimated that physical inactivity causes 6-10 percent of all deaths from major non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.1 According to The Lancet, males and females “of all ages, socioeconomic groups, and ethnicities are healthier if they achieve the public health recommendation of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity.”2 And we know that habits formed in youth last a lifetime.

Technology continues to have a strong presence in young lives, making it easier to watch television or play video games. And school-based organized physical activity may not be as common as it once was. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that as of 2006, only 15.2 percent of middle/junior high schools offered physical education courses three days a week. The GAO also reported, however, that competitive sports activities have

increased.3 With that in mind, it is vital that school staff, parents and others responsible for student athlete health are aware of current protocols.

Despite its obvious benefits, physical activity – especially competitive sports – is not without risk.4,5 Brain injury (concussion), cardiac arrest, devastating heat illness, exertional sickling, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are all serious and potentially life-threatening. According to information gathered by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, as many 100 secondary school athletes die per year, the majority from sudden cardiac arrest. Risk is not limited to one or two sports; athletes may be injured or become ill while cheer-leading or in marching band, as well as while playing soccer, football, volleyball, basketball or lacrosse.

Fortunately, risks can be minimized by proper planning and with proper equipment and personnel. Without that, injuries and medical conditions will impact the lives of athletes and their families, and may be costly in terms of time lost from school, jobs and medical visits. In 2009 athletes age 5-14 years accounted for almost 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals, with the severity of the injury increasing with the age of the participant.6

While emergency medical care and event coverage are critical components of sports safety, the ideal standard goes beyond that to comprise other health services. Fortunately, schools can institute plans and procedures through a series of relatively simple steps, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) wants to do its part to encourage the highest degree of safety for student athletes. To recognize the effort of schools that take action, NATA will award its prestigious Safe Sports School award to schools that represent that their athletic programs meet the criteria described below.


In order to achieve Safe Sports School Status, Athletic Programs are required to adhere to the following:

  • Create a comprehensive athletic health care administrative system
  • Provide or coordinate per-participation physical examinations
  • Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
  • Plan for selection, fit, function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
  • Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
  • Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
  • Provide or facilitate injury intervention
  • Create and rehearse venue-specific Emergency Action Plans
  • Provide or facilitate psycho-social consultation and nutritional counseling/education
  • Educate athletes and parents about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities


The Application for a Safe Sports School Award (SSSA) outlines the specific actions that will lead an Athletics Program to the Highest Safety Standards for its Athletes.

A school may earn a 1st or 2nd Team award.

  • 1st Team is awarded to schools that act on all of the recommended and required elements;
  • 2nd Team is granted to schools that have completed only required elements.

Any Secondary School can apply. Applications, which require a fee, must be signed by the School’s Principal or Athletic Director and an Athletic trainer or Team physician. Schools qualifying for either Award will receive a Banner and Artwork to promote their Achievement.

It may take a school months or even years to implement all requirements. School Districts may provide guidance and share resources. Community and Parent Activists can help and should be part of the effort. The result will be safer, healthier young athletes.


Apply / Renew

Please note that all application materials must be submitted online through the application material. An individual application is required for each school. Paper applications will no longer be accepted as of January 1, 2020 and may result in significant delay of response.

To avoid duplicate account errors, please double check to ensure the school address matches your school. If you do not see your school's address, select "Apply for my School". If this is your first time applying online, select "Apply for my School". Please check the expiration date of your award. Applications will not be processed greater than 60 days out from expiration. Schools with expirations more than 90 days expired will be processed as New Awards.

Complete the application only after reading the descriptions and rationale for each of the required and recommended elements of a Safe Sports School.

Manage Safe Sports School Award (SSSA) Application for your School.



  1. Das, Pamela, and Richard Horton. ”Rethinking Our Approach to Physical Activity.” The Lancet Physical Activity (2012): 5-6.
  2. Hallal, Pedro C., Gregory W. Health, Harold W. Kohl, III., I-Min Lee, and Michael Pratt. “Physical Activity: More of the Same Is Not Enough.” The Lancet (2012): 6-7.
  3. United States of America. Government Accountability Office. K-12 Education School-Based Physical Education and Sports Programs. By Linda Calbom, David Chrisinger, and Michelle Wong. Comp. Debra Prescott and Rebecca Woiwode. Government Accountability Office, 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Aug. 2012.
  4. In 2011, more than 40 children died during or immediately after sporting practice or play. National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
  5. Approximately 8,000 children are treated in EDs each day for sports-related injuries. Wier L. Miller A. Steiner C. Sports Injuries in Children Requiring Hospital Emergency Care, 2006, HCUP Statistical brief #75, June 2009.
  6. Preserving the Future of Sport: From Prevention to Treatment of Youth Overuse Sports Injuries. AOSSM 2009 Annual Meeting Pre-Conference Program. Keystone, Colorado.