The NFL Foundation matched a $25,000 donation from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to fund athletic training services at 12 local high schools' varsity football games.
Twelve area high schools will benefit from the establishment of an athletic trainer grant that will provide athletic training coverage at home and away varsity high school football games in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In September 2014, the NFL Foundation matched a $25,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to the Western New York Amateur Football Alliance to provide athletic trainers for high school football games at select schools that would otherwise not have had the coverage. UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine facilitates the athletic training services, supervision and administration of the program and participating trainers.
“The Athletic Training Outreach Program has added much needed game day medical coverage to those schools that do not employ full-time athletic trainers,” said Bud Carpenter, Bills Head Certified Athletic Trainer. “A Certified Athletic Trainer is trained to treat on field injuries and to recognize and manage suspected mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions). The mere presence of these medical professionals lends to a safer playing environment for the student athletes playing football.”
Studies have shown that the presence of athletic trainers can have a significant positive impact on student-athlete health, including lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and better return-to-play decisions.
The following twelve high school varsity football programs were the benefactors of athletic training services as part of the Buffalo Bills Athletic Trainer Program: Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Sherman/Clymer, Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, Westfield/Brocton, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Gowanda, Panama, Ellicottville/Franklinville, Silver Creek/Forestville, and Southwestern.
“As the Team Doctors for the Buffalo Bills players, we are happy to partner with the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation and NFL Foundation to provide the same type of care to student athletes as we provide to the pros,” said Dr. Leslie Bisson, Buffalo Bills team physician and orthopaedic physician with UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “This wouldn't have happened without the leadership of those two organizations, and we're pleased to contribute.”
"It is a comfort to know that there is someone on the sidelines whose number one focus and sole concern is taking care of the health and wellbeing of our student athletes,” said Kim Schon, Gowanda High School Athletic Director. “Having a certified athletic trainer available to work with our athletes has been such a valued and appreciated service that only benefits the overall athletic experience for kids. Having their presence significantly reduces the anxiety of parents, coaches, and players when it comes to injuries and game time return-to-play decisions.”
The intent of the program is to not only keep young athletes safe in the short term, but also to advocate for an inclusion of athletic training services into the school budgets of participating high schools. Meetings will be held in November to plan expansion and improvement of the pilot program, with hopes to extend the coverage for years to come.