Decorah High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award for Decorah High School Athletics. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

“Decorah High School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA,” said High School Activities Director Adam Riley. “With the continued support and leadership from our Athletic Trainer Kelli Rueckert and the Winneshiek Medical Center staff, we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during practices and competitions so they stay healthy to accomplish their goals in both the academic and athletic settings. Our goal is to lead our activities program to the highest safety standards possible for our student athletes. This recognition is a great reflection of our great health care providers in our community as well as the great dedication of our emergency services providers and local law enforcement.”

“The health and safety of student-athletes is critical as it has both immediate and long-term effects,” said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC. “NATA created the ‘Safe Sports School Award’ to recognize and champion schools nationwide that are committed to enhancing safety in sports. We are proud to see the list of award recipients grow exponentially each year as schools see the immense value in holding themselves to best practices and policies that ensure a high standard of athlete care.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, as Decorah High School did, athletic programs must do the following:

  • ?  Create a positive athletic health care administrative system

  • ?  Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations

  • ?  Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities

  • ?  Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment

  • ?  Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes

  • ?  Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions

  • ?  Provide or facilitate injury intervention

  • ?  Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan

  • ?  Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education

  • ?  Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as

    their responsibilities

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 45,000 members of the athletic training profession. For more information, visit At Your Own Risk is NATA’s public awareness campaign designed to educate, provide resources and equip the public to act and advocate for safety in work, life, and sport. In an effort to provide comprehensive information, the association has launched a website that provides recommendations on keeping student athletes and communities active and employees safe on the job. Visit