NFL Tries To Tackle Lack Of Athletic Trainers At Oklahoma School - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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NFL Tries To Tackle Lack Of Athletic Trainers At Oklahoma Schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

If you're a parent of a kid who plays sports, there's always the fear that they could get hurt, but Oklahoma's children have less access to athletic trainers who can help prevent those injuries than anywhere else in the nation.

Now, the National Football League is stepping in tackle the issue. 

During just this past football season, two Oklahoma high school student athletes suffered catastrophic injuries during a game.

Another: Ben Hamm died after suffering a head injury on what appeared to be a routine tackle.

That's according to the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association, who also said none of the schools where the boys played had any sort of athletic trainer on staff. 

“Things are going to happen in sports, just like anyone can go out and get in an accident, but some of these issues are preventable,” said Dan Newman, the former president of the Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association. 

Newman said only 27 percent of schools in Oklahoma have a full-time or even part-time trainer on staff. 

“I always say if you can afford to play football, you should be able to afford an athletic trainer. You should never put those student athletes out there without someone caring for their health,” he said. 

But budget cuts forced schools to make tough decisions. That's where the NFL comes in.

The NFL has chosen Oklahoma as one of four states where high schools are eligible for a $35,000 grant to hire an athletic trainer.  

The NFL Foundation chairman Charlotte Jones Anderson said NFL teams have long seen the value of a trainer when it comes to safety "and this program will help provide the same expertise at the high school level." 

The deadline to apply for those grants is the end of this week. There are 150 available.

Newman said right now, he knows of 49 schools that are applying.  

Further information on the program and the grant process and eligibility can be found at: www.athletictrainergrant.com.  

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