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5 More Duval Schools Get Certified Athletic Trainers

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Lindsey Kilbride
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WJCT News

The Duval County Public School announced Thursday five additional high schools are getting certified athletic trainers this summer.

Wolfson, Ed White, First Coast, Stanton and Lee high schools will join seven Duval schools that already have them. The district and partners in the safety initiative called Project 17, calls for all 17 high schools having certified athletic trainers by 2020.

A youth injury prevention nonprofit, the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program, is partnering on the plan. Executive Director Bob Sefcik said since the district began hiring certified trainers two years ago, athletes have sat out more than 350 practice and game days due to sports injuries.

“We believed having certified athletic trainers on site at schools for athletic practices and events would help prevent injury and quickly identify injuries that did occur and ensure timely and early treatment parameters for those athletes,” Sefcik said.

Currently, more than 2,400 students have access to certified trainers. Over the last couple years, trainers have assessed and managed more than 70 sports-related concussions, monitored 42 reports of symptoms that could be related to cardiac conditions and identified 61 athletes who were possibly suffering heat exhaustion, he said.

Jerry Stevens with the National Athletic Trainers Association praised Project 17, calling it a model for other communities. He awarded Duval’s schools that already have the trainers — Andrew Jackson, Baldwin, Englewood, Ribault, Terry Parker, Westside and Raines high schools — with the Safe Sport School award.

“(It recognizes) schools that are taking comprehensive steps in regards to sports safety,” Stevens said.

He said 852 schools have earned the designation nationwide — 43 in Florida; Duval's seven schools are the only ones in Northeast Florida.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, the National Football League, Florida Blue, Brooks Rehab and Memorial Hospital are contributors to Project 17.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.