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DLHS named 'Safe Sports School'

Earlier this month, about a week before the winter holiday break began, Detroit Lakes High School athletic trainer Thomas Truedson learned that the school would soon be the proud recipient of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Safe Sports School Award.

The national awards program "champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes," and "reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment," according to a press release from NATA.

Truedson said there are two different Safe Sports School designations—First Team, and Second Team.

"A First Team designation is awarded to those schools that act on all the required and recommended elements," he explained, "while a Second Team designation is given to schools that act on the required elements only."

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status, as DLHS 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 a 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.

"We are honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health," says Truedson, noting that this is the first time Detroit Lakes has received the award.

"Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players," he continued. "This requires a team effort from the athletic trainer, team physician, coaching staff, and school administration. We are very lucky that everyone views this as a priority at DLHS."

In fact, Truedson noted, even applying for the award required a financial commitment from the district.

"We applied through a grant we received from the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association," he said. "We were fortunate to receive that as well."

Truedson, whose wife Aimee is a teacher at Detroit Lakes Middle School and also coaches softball for the district, said that they moved to the community after Aimee was offered the position with the district. He took the athletic trainer's position with Sanford Health three years ago.

"Before I took this job I worked with the New York Mets' minor league team," said Truedson, adding that it worked out very well because his wife's teaching job allowed her to join him on the road during the summer, and he was able to spend much of the winter back in DL with his family.

But after six years with the Mets' organization, he added, he decided that he wanted to spend more time at home with his family, which has expanded to include two young children.

"Our daughter will be three in March, and our son is eight months old," Truedson said. "When this position became available, I applied so I could have a little more stable family life."

Now, after just three years with the school district, Truedson is already making his mark.

"It's a pretty neat deal," he said, noting that the school not only gets a framed certificate, but also a banner to hang inside Ralph Anderson Gymnasium. "It's nice to be recognized on a national level."

Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses, Truedson noted. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) represents and supports 44,000 members of the athletic training profession across the United States. "We remain committed to the health and welfare of young athletes in competitive sports," says NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. "This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454