The Saint Ignatius Athletic Department has always focused on creating a safe environment for its student-athletes. As athletics have grown locally and nationally, Saint Ignatius has continued to step up its game in student-athlete health.
Under the direction of Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88, Saint Ignatius has worked to prioritize student-athlete health and safety, taking a number of measures to accomplish this goal.
The school's dedication to safety has not gone unnoticed. On Monday, April 9, Saint Ignatius High School received the Safe Sports School Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).
Athletic Trainer Maureen Sizemore spearheaded the effort to gain this recognition for Saint Ignatius. With help from Head Athletic Trainer Hank Gaughan, Sizemore has fostered a positive environment for student-athletes. Sizemore and Gaughan have built an efficient healthcare administrative system in tune with HIPPA and FERPA regulations, developed strategies to prevent injuries and illnesses, created and improved Emergency Action Plans, and communicated with parents and athletes to ensure all parties know about the potential benefits and risks in their sports.
In addition, Sizemore has worked with University Hospitals to provide free pre-participation physical examinations for student-athletes at any one of five UH facilities.
"We are so lucky to have such experienced and caring athletic trainers," said Fitzpatrick. "Mo and Hank are invaluable to Saint Ignatius Athletics. They are our eyes and ears, helping to make sure our kids are always safe. Mo and Hank are often the first to arrive and the last to leave. The amount of time and care they dedicate to our young men is amazing."
As the NATA stated in its release, the award "positions the school as a leader in sports safety and a community concerned with its student-athletes and their care."
“This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur,” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC.
Saint Ignatius has established itself as a leader in student-athlete health in Northeast Ohio, remaining on the cutting edge in all areas. For example, Saint Ignatius was the first to acquire a SidelinER tent for discrete and private medical diagnosis on the sidelines of athletic events.
Saint Ignatius is one of the first schools in Northeast Ohio to receive this high designation from NATA.
"We have spent lots of time and energy to make this happen," Sizemore said. "We work hard everyday to keep our student-athletes happy and healthy, so it's great to be recognized with this award."
The school is fortunate to have Sizemore and Gaughan looking after its student-athletes.