JACKSONVILLE – Athletic training on all levels is vital to the community. From Duval Country Public Schools to the Jacksonville Jaguars, athletic trainers protect and promote youth sports in Jacksonville.
On Tuesday, May 10, the Jaguars medical team took part in the first annual North Florida High School Sports Safety Awards Gala and Fundraiser hosted by the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program (JSMP). The JSMP is an advocacy program that promotes youth sports safety and partners with local schools and health care organizations to promote best practices for sports safety. The JSMP is the only program of its kind in the nation.
More than 125 people attended the sold-out event at the Ritz Theater in downtown Jacksonville. These awards recognize the community's further to commitment to Project 17 which provides 17 full-time athletic trainers to work in Duval County Public Schools.
Check out photos from the first ever North Florida High School Sports Safety Awards Gala and Fundraiser hosted by the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program (JSMP).
On the board of JSMP is Jeff Ferguson, Vice President of Player Health and Performance for the Jaguars. Ferguson, along with the Jaguars athletic training team, attended the gala.
"My staff and I, along with the support of Jaguars PREP and the Jaguars Foundation, are working to give Duval County athletic trainers guidance, educational resources and product to help these high schoolers," says Ferguson.
All 125 attendees at the gala are working to engage and support anyone interested in athletic training in Jacksonville, with the overall goal to keep kids safe.
"We want everyone to understand at the Jaguars we do the same job as athletic trainers in high school," says Ferguson. "It's at a different level, but it is all towards the same common goal – injury management, emergency action plans, heat illness, hydration management. We all as athletic trainers have a mutual respect."
There were many award winners from the gala that received nominations for excellence in athletic training. Two of the biggest winners were Paxon School for Advanced Studies and Sandalwood High School, which won the Sports Safety Programs of the Year. Both programs were gifted their own medical vehicles, making their day-to-day jobs a little bit easier.
This is just the start of supporting athletic training in Duval County. "I'm excited to see where this goes," said Ferguson. "One thing I said to all the athletic trainers at the event – everyone should feel empowered to work hard in anticipation for our future awards gala."