EAHS earns national award for Athletic Training Program

East Ascension (EA) High School Athletic Trainer Rene Ponsaa (center) teaches student athletic trainers how to properly wrap a wrist. EA won the Safe Sports School award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).

Gonzales, La. — East Ascension High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award for its athletic training program. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

EA safe schools“We are so very proud of how our athletic training program has grown over the last five years. This award is an affirmation of the hours and hours of hard work our athletic trainers and our student trainers have dedicated to making our program thrive. Our athletes are in wonderful hands on and off the field of play. This award is so deserved, and we appreciate the national recognition,” said East Ascension High School Principal Traci McCorkle. “This team of trainers doesn’t work for accolades; they work for the players and take pride and get their reward from assisting our athletes, but it certainly is nice when others recognize the work that they do!”

“The health and safety of student-athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to enhancing safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow exponentially each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, athletic programs must do the following:

  • Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
  • Provide or coordinate pre-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 a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
  • Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
  • Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

“East Ascension High School’s Athletic Training Program is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from the NATA,” said Rene Ponsaa, Head Athletic Trainer and Director of the Sports Medicine Program. “We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of healthcare we can possibly give to all of our athletes and lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.

“I would like to thank our administration and athletic director for always supporting the athletic training program. I would also like to thank our sponsors and those people in the community for always making sure that we are equipped to provide the highest quality of care for our athletes. It is great to be part of an organization and community that will always put our athletes health and safety before winning. Finally, I would also like to thank Paige Wheeler and Kaleigh Vargas, my two associate certified athletic trainers on staff as well as my fantastic athletic training student aides. This program would not be where it is without all of your hard work and dedication,” said Ponsaa.

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit www.athletictrainers.org.