Barrington High School wins national ‘Safe Sports’ award

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Barrington High School earned this year’s National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award, which recognizes the school’s efforts to protect local student-athletes.

At an event on Thursday morning, Feb. 20, different officials, including Rep. David Cicilline and Rhode Island Interscholastic League President Tom Mezzanotte, took turns praising Barrington High School’s athletic department and in particular the efforts of school officials and the athletic training staff.

“The standard we judge all our schools is with Barrington High School,” said Mr. Mezzanotte.

Barrington High School Director of Athletics and Student Activities George Finn was quick to share the award with the school district’s current and past leaders. He mentioned some of the people who served as athletic trainers at the school in the past, and said that while it is very nice to be honored with the award, that’s not the reason for the school’s focus in that area.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said, about keeping student-athletes safe.

Paul A. Ullucci, Jr., the president of Ullucci Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy, helped present the award to Mr. Finn and the entire school. He also highlighted HR-72, a congressional resolution that supports the creation of a student-athletes’ bill of rights. Mr. Ullucci said Rep. Cicilline was the first congressman in New England to sign onto HR-72, which would further protect young athletes.

Rep. Cicilline credited the work of Barrington High School on behalf of its student-athletes, referencing briefly that 7.7 million athletes participated in high school sports last year and that 22 percent of the reported injuries with those athletes were concussions.

The congressman then posed for a few photos with Mr. Finn, Barrington High School athletic trainer Whitney Howe and local legislators Rep. Gregg Amore and Sen. David Bates.

Ms. Howe, who has served as the athletic trainer at the high school for about a year, said the school works hard to ensure the safety of its student-athletes, whether that be in preventative efforts prior to practices and competitions or with medical attention when an athlete suffers an injury.

She said the school follows a strict protocal when it comes to head injuries. “It’s all about the safety of the student-athlete,” she added.

Award criteria

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status, as Barrington High School did, 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 venue-specific Emergency Action Plan

• Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education

• Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

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