Running Head: Injury Prevention in School and Athletic Programs

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Running Head: Injury Prevention in School and Athletic Programs

Injury Prevention in School and Athletic Programs

Mary Rossio

Dr. Wheeler

Foundations of Community Health

December 4, 2015

For a variety of health and behavioral reasons, participating in sports can be beneficial to students and their mental and physical health. A survey conducted by ESPN, noted that roughly 21.47 million students between the ages of six and seventeen, are involved in a sport in the United States (Kelley and Carchia, 2013). Which increases the risk of injury to school age children. Although sports can contribute to a healthier lifestyle, precautions must be taken to keep them safe and injury free. “More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries” (CDC, 2012). In addition to putting forth effort of prevention, post injuries must be monitored to ensure future and more damaging injuries can be avoided. Rules and interventions may vary from state to state, but a school and community level, there is a responsibility to provide a healthy arena for our student athletes and encourage safe participation for a healthy youth. With the help of the Precede/Proceed Model and a VMOSA (vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plans), a game plan can be introduced so future sports injuries can be prevented.

At the starting line, a VMOSA (vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plans), has been established to put the play in motion.


The vision is to reduce and help eliminate the number of sport related injuries in school age athletes. As an organized school group and community, efforts are needed to ensure the health and safety of our school athletes. Sport related injuries are among one of the top causes of children injuries in the United States (CDC, 2012). This acknowledging that prevention is a must to get to the healthy finish line for our athletes without discouraging participation. Our vision includes:

  • Healthy athletes

  • Supportive community

  • Trained coaches and officials

  • Educational programs with success rates

  • Proper recovery times.


The overall mission is to reduce injuries in school age athletes in Illinois through preventions and enforcing guidelines for healthy recoveries for those with injuries, in addition to reducing future complications.


In order to gain a victory, our objectives the following objectives include:

  • By 2020, all school coaches will have completed an accredited training program by the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) in injury prevention.

  • By 2020, all gaming officials will have completed an accredited training program to recognize signs and symptoms of injuries on the field/court.

  • By 2020, all parents/guardians of school participating athletes will participate in an informative seminar of injury prevention and proper action to follow in regards to an athlete be hurt/injured.

  • By 2020, Athletic trainers on sight of all sporting events will be mandatory and available for pre and post care of the athletes.


In order for the most optimal success, support must come from beyond the school administration and student athletes. Parents, coaches, officials, and encouraging spirit from the community is necessary in order for the most overall positive outcomes. In order to successfully execute our objectives the following strategies will be executed:

  • Provide resources for proper training to the coaches and athletes

  • Provide safe and comfortable playing conditions for the athletes (gyms, equipment, etc).

  • Provide education to parents on post injury care (signs to look for and what to do).

  • Work with local healthcare professionals to assist in proper diagnosis of the athletes and recovery plans.

  • Establish lines of communication of healthcare professional and school/coaches to ensure that proper follow up and release are followed.

  • Establish barriers to care for athletes (financial).

  • Update school athletic policies on proper training conditions and physical requirements.

  • Enforce suggestions that are provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics that include:

    • Taking time off for recovery

    • Wear the proper gear

    • Condition and exercise to strengthen muscles

    • Engage in exercise that will help with flexibility

    • Continually use proper technique

    • Take a break when needed

    • Be safe

    • If in pain, stop playing/participating

    • Avoid playing in high temperatures (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014).

Action plan

It is obvious that it will take efforts by multiple people within the community and school system to successfully accomplish the mission of decreasing the number of injuries in school age children. Plans may differ from school to school based on demographics, resources, and staff. Please see below the example action plan for Coal City High School (Grundy County, Illinois).

Action Step

Responsible Party

Date to be completed

Necessary resources


Create task force to create and roll out prevention programs

Mary Rossio

January 1, 2016

Conference room (free) and IHSA requirements (manuals)

Coal City School Board, Grundy County Health Department, and Coal City Athletic Boosters

Distribute surveys in coloration with knowledge of athletic related injuries to parents and athletes

Dan Hutchings

(Athletic Director)

March 15, 2015

Student volunteers, paper and envelopes ($100), stamps ($.42 x 800 students = $336)

Coal City School Board and Coal City Athletic Boosters

Parent and athlete information night to discuss rules, preventions, and protocols after an injury

Mary Rossio

Dan Hutchings

Individual coach for the particular sport in season

1 week prior to start date of individual sport. First meeting for football (start date for athletes 8.1.16 meeting is 7.25.15)

Gym/auditorium, electronic notification/alert

Coal City School Board, Coal City Athletic Boosters, Athletic Trainers, and local sports injury physician (Dr. Rezin)

Establish relationship with local healthcare professionals and create plans of care and communication guidelines

Mary Rossio

Dan Hutchings

Dr. Kent Bug (Superintendent), Dr. Rezin, Riverside Community Health, Coal City Fire and Ambulance

May 1, 2015

Coal City High School Conference room

Coal City School Board, Coal City Athletic Boosters,

Compare current year injuries to previous year injuries by individual sport and year

Mary Rossio

June 1, 2016

Administration office and gathered information in regards to all injuries from Dan Hutchings

Coal City School Board

Review of related resources

Injuries that take place in school athletics can be minor or serious, but none the less, all should be examined and treated. A study was completed by the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association and Midwest Orthopedics at RUSH to determine the most common injuries in Illinois High School Sports. The study concluded that the top five injures include:

  • Knee injuries

  • Shoulder overuse

  • Back pain

  • Wrist injuries

  • Concussions (Midwest Orthopedics @ Rush and Illinois Athletic Trainer Association, n.d.).

In addition to other injuries, as a thieving community, we must protect the safety of our youth. Prevention appears to be the tactic to reduce the number of emergency room visits. The CDC reports that more than 2.5 million children seek treatment for a sports injury every year (CDC, 2012). In addition to inflicting pain and concern on these students and their parents, it is also causing a rise in healthcare expenditures. Prevention has the ability to help us reduce the number of these visits and injuries as a whole.

Per the study completed by Midwest Orthopedics @ Rush and Illinois Athletic Trainer Association, concussions are within the top 5 for serious high school athletic injuries. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination” (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Concussions are among the many injuries that must be taken seriously and have proper follow ups and are a necessity for the athlete. “Nationwide, it is estimated one-million sports related head injuries occur annually in high schools athletes. And what concerns physicians and trainers, is that an estimated 85% still go unreported” (Midwest Orthopedics @ Rush and Illinois Athletic Trainer Association, n.d.). As noted in our objectives, it is important the coaches and officials are trained to recognize signs and symptoms for injuries, including concussions. Playing with a concussion can lead to future damage with long term affects. There is also a responsibility of the parents to complete safety checks and follow up with additional care. Thus making it a circle of collaboration of community needs.

The Precede-Proceed Model (PPM) is a good tool to access the interventions taken to reduce the amount of athletic injuries in our schools within Illinois. The PPM is composed of 8 phases that include:

  • Social assessment

  • Epidemiological assessment

  • Educational and ecological assessment

  • Administrative and policy assessment and intervention alignment

  • Implementation and evaluation (phases 5-8) (Diclemente, Salazar, and Crosby, 2013).

Our social assessment of school athletic injuries tells us that more than one person is needed to make a change and reduce the number of injures that are taking place within community events such as school sports. Beyond healthcare professionals, coaches, officials, and parents must take an active role in the wellbeing of our athletes. Phase two is the epidemiological assessment. Preventions and precautions must be clear and measurable. For example, as noted previously as an objective, by 2020, all school coaches will have completed an accredited training program by the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) in injury prevention. We have issued an ultimate goal date of 2016 for completion and compare injuries for 2017 of injuries to the previous year of 2015 to note any improvements.

Phase 3 is educational and ecological assessment. In order for people of the community to put forth effort to improve, they must understand that there is a problem and a need for improvements in reducing the number of sport related injuries in our youth. “Predisposing factors, such as knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, or confidence, facilitate or hinder motivation toward change” (Diclemente, Salazar, and Crosby, 2013). We must educate the involved parties and community in the short and long term effects that can evolve from sport related injuries. The best way to do so is present the information in an informative and relatable way. With the support of the Athletic Director and local sports injury physicians, the word can be spread.

Changing the community’s view can be challenging as well as changing guidelines and policies. This brings us to phase 4 of administrative and policy assessment and intervention alignment. We will heavily rely on the IHSA to for guidance and the school board for support. Not only must the policies be created but enforced by school administration, coaches, and officials. Creating this policy defense, allows us to implement and evaluate the mission and work. Phase five through eight guides us to do so. Evaluation is critical to any type of intervention. We must be able to track and evaluate the progress. We can do so by comparing injuries from pre implementation to post implementation from year to year or season to season.


Program: School sport injuries

Situation: As an example, a logic model is provided in order to educate the need of concern for concussions that stem from sports related injuries.



Outcomes -- Impact



Provide information
Policy’s and regulations
Time (all year around)

Design parent/athlete meetings prior to start of sport season

Social media announcements

School board meetings

Electronic notifications.

Attend national and state conferences/programs

Parent and athletes are mandated to attend in order for athlete to participate. 100% participation is expected.

Attendance and follow up with healthcare professionals

Involve entire circle (coaches, officials, community, and parents).

Bring Awareness to the seriousness of concussions.

Make care available to athletes

Track number of concussions by sport per season.

Proper follow up with healthcare professionals

Reduce the number of complications/long term effects associated by concussions.

Advance awareness of the seriousness of concussions.


External Factors

The community and school system does not want young athletes putting their health at danger ad risk long term effects based on a school sport injury.

The community must be able to relate and apply the information they are provided.

Being able to track involvement and improvements is necessary to evaluate the overall progress of the initiatives and interventions.


Individual community involvement can be a critical asset to the success of implanting a program in which has the capability to reduce sports injuries through prevention. On the score board of collaboration, coach’s, school administration, officials, parents, and the healthcare community must work together to reduce the risk and danger in our youth through sports. Although the regulations from state to state to vary, is important to recognize and contribute to the individuality of each sport and this is what this program will do. Competitive sports that are provided in the state of Illinois include broken down by gender in the chart below.








Competitive Cheerleading

Cross country

Competitive Dance


Cross Country







Swimming & Diving



Swimming & Diving

Track & Field



Track & Field

Water Polo



Preventions and interventions that may be applicable for one sport, may not be the case for all sports. That is what makes this approach unique and innovative. We must make it relatable to the individuals and the behavior in which they are a custom to or provide the tools to make a behavioral change. A study completed by Safe Kids Worldwide, shows that on in three kids who play a team sport are injured and forced to miss games or practice (Safe Kids Worldwide, 2008). It is recognizable that an intervention must be taken to reduce numbers such as these.


Limitations may vary from state to state, school to school, sport to sport, and sideline to sideline. People within the community that do not have school age children or not fans of sports in general, may not see the immediate needs of reducing injuries in school sports through prevention. Funding may also be a foul based on the ability to gather the appropriate people such as physicians and chairman for this approach. In addition to distributing information and hiring additional staff to support the approach/program.

In conclusion, recognizing that there is a need to take preventive measures in reducing sport related injuries within our youth is essential for the overall health of the community. “More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries” (CDC, 2012). A growing concern that involves the efforts of more than just the athletes. In order to reduce the growing number of sport related injuries, we must incorporate interventions and precautions to avoid such injures. Whether it be a sprain or concussion, there ways to be proactive and guide our athlete in how to avoid being hurt in the game or practice. Progress cannot be made from the sideline, rather than have our heads in the game at all times and promote the healthiest way for our youths to excel as athletes.


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