Congratulations to Serra's Sports Medicine Department for being awarded the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Safe Sports School Award for the Junipero Serra High School Athletics Department. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. It also reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.
Serra has been named a Safe Sports School First Team for a three-year period, valid until March 2025.
The award represents an incredibly high standard for the care of Serra's student-athletes, according to Athletics Director Justin Ferdinand.
"As an athletics department, we are thrilled to be recognized by NATA, " Ferdinand said. "This is a tremendous accomplishment that highlights the hard work and dedication of our amazing athletics training staff. They are an integral part of the success of all of our athletics programs."
According to Head Athletic Trainer Duke Meek, the program recognizes high schools that prioritize keeping young athletes safe. Serra is one of few schools in the area to receive such an honor, he said.
Meek said that receiving this recognition is an enormous achievement and one that helps motivate his team to continue to reach new heights in the care of Serra's student-athletes.
"It is a huge honor and it shows that we're doing a lot of good things for our student-athletes and our community. As a department we are going above and beyond to continue to improve the care that we provide for our boys," Meek said. "We feel this honor extends outside our school as well, because when other schools come here for a game, the student-athletes, parents and school officials know that we will be taking extreme care of their student-athletes as well," he added.
Serra Athletic Trainer Kevin Attard was instrumental in applying for the award, according to Meek. In Serra's application for the award, Attard highlighted Serra's creation of a positive athletic health care administrative system by proving Serra's proficiency in various areas such as pre-participation physical examinations, appropriate practice and competition facilities, fit function and maintenance of athletic equipment and fully equipped areas to evaluate and treat injured athletes.
This fall, Attard orchestrated a rehearsal of the school's Emergency Action Plan, bringing together local first responders to practice emergency procedures in the event of an emergency injury. Large scale examples like emergency rehearsals coupled with smaller examples like Serra's access to external defibrillators and injury and illness prevention strategies are the criteria by which a school is rated.
Meek said this award represents a win-win situation.
"This is a win in every aspect -- a win for students with their healthcare, their care on the field and in the classroom as well."
A banner will be presented to Serra in the coming weeks to identify Serra as a Safe Sports School First Team.