Two Minnesota Schools Win AT Initiative Contest

Gatorade, NATA, NFL Foundation and PFATS Announce AT Initiative Contest Winners

Winners of the first-ever AT Initiative have been announced! At a press event held in conjunction with the 2016 Youth Sports Safety Summit, NATA President Scott Sailor and NFL Senior Manager, Health and Safety Policy, Amy Jorgenson, announced the 15 winners of the contest, which awarded $50,000 to deserving schools that demonstrated a need to improve or create a sustainable, full-time AT program at their respective schools. This year’s winners are:

Alden-Conger Public School (Alden, MN)
Due to budget and accessibility constraints, Alden-Conger has no athletic trainer coverage at practices or games for any of their sports programs. The grant will allow the school to launch its own athletic training program and work with local clinics to offer additional services to student athletes for injury treatment and recovery. Alden-Conger High School is located in rural, south central Minnesota and is a K-12 district serving a total of about 500 students with about 225 students in grades 7 through 12.  The district offers football, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, baseball, softball, golf and is paired with Albert Lea to offer wrestling and paired with United South Central to offer track and field for grades 7-12.  They currently have access to an athletic trainer through Mayo Clinic Health Systems that comes once per week for approximately 1 hour to see injured athletes.   However, they have no athletic trainer services at any practices or home events for contact or non-contact sports.  Alden-Conger was very grateful to be chosen as one of only 15 districts in the nation to receive this grant this year and realize this is an amazing opportunity to benefit the athletes in the district.
Emily Stadheim, ATC  helped to sumbit the application and shares her story:

As an alumni of Alden-Conger and a three sport athlete of the school district, I was well aware of the need for an athletic trainer.  I graduated from Alden-Conger in 2011 and attended Gustavus earning my Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training in 2015.  I chose athletic training as my field of study because I had been a high school athlete who suffered multiple injuries.  During my rehabilitation, I met and worked with an athletic trainer at an outpatient center and became very interested in the field of athletic training.  Not wanting to leave sports, I realized my experience with injuries would allow me to relate my patients.  I was recently married and we plan to make our home in Alden as my husband works there and I currently work in Albert Lea while I am searching for an athletic training position. I passed along the information about the grant to the administration at Alden-Conger after I saw it posted on NATA's Facebook page.  I thought it would be a great opportunity for my hometown, I had attended a few sporting events this fall and this winter where it appeared that coaches maybe were not able to make the best medical decisions for the athletes during games because of the needs of the team. Also, I had been approached by parents of athletes inquiring about injuries and wanting advice knowing I was a certified athletic trainer.  I believe for the district to have this asset and opportunity to help provide a safe environment for athletics to take place, especially being such a small school, this grant will provide something they would never have been able to afford on their own.  Having an athletic trainer to help guide, inform, and care for the athletes, coaches, and community in a multitude of ways as the profession allows I think will benefit the district.  I plan to apply for the athletic trainer position at Alden-Conger when it becomes available but know this will be beneficial for the district regardless of who holds the position.

St. Anthony Village High School (Minneapolis, MN)
St. Anthony Village is the only public high school without consistent athletic trainer coverage in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The school currently has athletic trainer coverage for only varsity contests in two sports and no coverage for junior varsity and other lower-level programs. With the grant, the school will be able to provide athletic trainer coverage for all of its practices and home sports events. In addition, the school will begin baseline concussion testing for all of its student athletes to improve diagnosis and treatment.  
The grant was submitted by Activities Director Troy Urdahl and alumni Eric Brever.  You can read more about their story HERE.