Sports Are Great, But Safety Comes First For Castle Knights

Castle High School has received the Safe Sports School 1st Team Award from National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the organization announced recently.

NATA recognizes middle schools and high schools that it considers provide the best and safest environments for student-athletes competing in athletic programs. Castle was the only public school in Hawaii to earn the award for 2014 and one of only two in the state, joining Hawaii Baptist Academy.

“Castle High has proven that sports safety and children’s well-being is a priority,” stated NATA’s Britni Adams. “It says a lot about the principal’s, athletic director’s and the administration’s support and commitment.”

According to NATA, there were 25 sports-related deaths in secondary schools in 2014 and 33 such fatalities in 2013. Among the health issues NATA emphasizes in educating the public are concussions, brain injuries, heart issues and heat illness.

The Texas-based organization created its award program to stress the importance of the highest level of care for youths and to reward schools with qualifying athletic programs.

In order to achieve “1st Team” status, which is the highest level, Castle’s training staff had to demonstrate high-caliber injury prevention and treatment; create a positive athletic health care administrative system; coordinate pre-participation physical exams; execute plans for maintenance of athletic equipment; offer a permanent equipped area for evaluations and injury treatments; and develop illness-prevention strategies. These standards apply to physical education classes taught at the school in addition to the practices and games involving members of its sports teams.

“This award testifies to the dedication and caring atmosphere that our trainers have created,” said Castle athletic director Laynie Sueyasu. “The community can feel confident that the children’s welfare matters to us.” The Knights’ training staff includes Gretchen Miller and Emily Vincent.

Castle’s “1st Team” standing is good for three years.

NATA is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. Founded in 1950, it has grown to more than 35,000 members worldwide.

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 the Safe Sports School checklist; 2nd Team awards are given to schools that have completed only required elements.