The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education agreed Tuesday to collaborate with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to provide certified athletic trainers at public high schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) system.
The Board has long looked to develop a sports medicine and athletic trainer program for its high schools in an effort to prevent injuries and minimize the risk of injuries to student athletes. To achieve uniformity in programming, care, standards, and protocols provided to student athletes throughout the WS/FCS, the Board saw Wake Forest Baptist as best to provide a certified athletic trainer (ATC) program.
"We at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are excited about this opportunity," said Superintendent Beverly Emory. "We think this partnership will be great for our schools and our students. We look forward to working with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to live our core value of being student-centered as we strive to provide our student athletes with quality athletic training services."
As outlined in the agreement, the ATCs will be employed by Wake Forest Baptist and each assigned to one of the 12 WS/FCS high schools: Atkins High School; Carver High School; East Forsyth High School; Glenn High School; Mount Tabor High School; North Forsyth High School; Parkland High School; Reagan High School; R.J. Reynolds High School; Walkertown High School; Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy; and West Forsyth High School.
Wake Forest Baptist will provide first consideration to applicants currently serving as athletic trainers at the high schools for the new ATC positions.
In addition to the 12 ATCs, Wake Forest Baptist will provide management, support services, and additional personnel to the program including an AT coordinator, a medical director and team physicians.
“Our singular mission is to improve the health of our community,” said Kevin P. High, M.D., executive vice president, health system affairs, Wake Forest Baptist Health. “We have been leaders in the field of sports medicine, pediatric trauma and concussion research, and we see this as a natural extension of our expertise and mission by providing a certified athletic trainer to serve at each high school.”
Wake Forest Baptist will also develop a concussion program tailored to meet the needs of the high schools, and comply with all applicable laws governing treatment of concussions, including the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act which requires that all interscholastic athletic activities conducted by local boards of education meet requirements when it comes to concussion education and emergency action; as well as protocols for removal from play and return to practice for student athletes following a concussion.
The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma founded at Wake Forest Baptist supports and manages concussion education for athletic trainers, coaches, parents and players. “We will continue to be very active in youth sports and recreation safety,” said Bob Gfeller, the Executive Director of the Childress Institute and father of Matthew Gfeller for whom the Gfeller-Waller Act is also named. “This partnership will provide us with the opportunity to develop more educational programming for the WS/FCS high schools to help our student athletes play it safe.”
At a minimum, the concussion program will provide all high school student athletes with pre-season, baseline testing and additional testing if a concussion is sustained or suspected.
Under this agreement, Wake Forest Baptist will continue to provide pre-participation sports physicals for student athletes who are unable to obtain one from a health care provider.The initial agreement runs through June 30, 2020.
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