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First public school in Hawaii earns national award for high safety standards in sports

Castle High in Kaneohe has received the Safe Sports School 1st Team Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. The association recognizes middle and high schools that provide the best and safest athletic-program environments for student-athletes.

The Windward District school is the only one in Hawaii to earn the award this school year.

Nationally, there were 25 sports-related deaths in secondary schools in 2014 and 33 such fatalities in 2013, according to NATA. Concussions, brain injuries, cardiac arrest and heat illness are common risks. The 65-year-old Texas-based organization with worldwide membership launched its award program to stress the importance of the highest level of care for youths and to reward schools with qualifying athletic programs.

Achieving “1st Team” status – the top-tier level – required Castle to demonstrate high-caliber injury prevention and treatment; create a positive athletic health-care administrative system; coordinate pre-participation physical exams; execute plans for maintenance of athletic equipment; offer a permanent equipped area for evaluations and injury treatments; and develop

illness-prevention strategies. These standards apply to physical education classes, team practices and games.

“This award testifies to the dedication and caring atmosphere that our trainers have created,” said CHS Athletic Director Laynie Sueyasu. “The community can feel confident that the children’s welfare matters to us.” She tied students’ positive athletic experiences to their exhibiting lifelong good sportsmanship, and thanked trainers Gretchen Miller and Emily Vincent, and the administration.

“Castle High has proven that sports safety and children’s well-being is a priority,” said NATA’s Britni Adams. “It says a lot about the principal’s, athletic director’s and the administration’s support and commitment.”

Castle’s “1st Team” standing is good for three years. “2nd Team” schools may continue upgrading their programs to qualify for “1st Team” status without a time constraint.