Parker won the group’s Safe Sports 1st Team School award, recognizing the school as a leader in protecting student-athletes from injury. It’s the first San Diego County school so recognized.
“Francis Parker School takes pride in earning this 1st Team distinction from NATA as it requires us to put ourselves to the test and measure up to the high standards of the NATA,” said Athletic Director Phil Hunt.
“We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health.”
Parker players and trainers have made videos promoting the “Speak Up” campaign for concussion awareness.
In October, Parker canceled a football game against Morse High School in the wake of injuries suffered in a 42-13 loss to Valhalla High School. The forfeit didn’t stop coach John Morrison’s Lancers from qualifying for CIF playoffs.
Parker won its Division III opening round game against Monte Vista, but lost in the quarterfinals to eventual finalist Hoover High School.
NATA President Jim Thornton noted an increase in sports with the potential of injury.
“Brain injury/concussion, cardiac arrest, heat illness, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are potentially life-threatening,” Thornton said in a news release. He noted that proper training, equipment and personnel are vital to safety.
Parker says it is one of the few schools in county with two athletic trainers on staff, who attend all football games. The school also invested in helmets with impact sensor technology that alerts trainers on the sidelines when a player experiences a high-impact collision.
During practices, student-athletes wear guard pads over their helmets to absorb more of the impact.
For the past nine years, Parker players in all contact sports have under gone mandatory baseline testing of their normal cognitive function, during the preseason.
“This information gives our athletic trainers better indications of when there may be an injury or impairment based on symptom scores,” Parker said in a news release.
Parker players are also active in “Athletes Saving Athletes” campaign that encourages student-athletes to communicate with coaches and athletic trainers about concussion symptoms.
The school also adheres to CIF-mandated concussion training for coaches and the concussion management protocol.
On Feb. 12, Parker is partnering with VoiceofSanDiego.org to host a public forum titled “The Future of Football,” focusing on how to protect student-athletes from brain injuries while playing high school football. The panel discussion will be held on the Linda Vista Campus at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.
Tickets are $10, VOSD members may attend at no cost.
Confirmed panelists include:
- Roger Blake, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation.
- David Casey Jr., managing partner with CaseyGerry, the law firm that represented Junior Seau’s family.
- Jim Laslavic, former NFL player and NBC 7 San Diego sports anchor.
- And Dr. Howard Taras, a pediatrician working at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego Medical Center.
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