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Published on February 13, 2017

Pardee Sports Medicine-Affiliated High Schools Receive National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award


Three Buncombe County high schools recognized for sports safety 

Hendersonville, N.C. — Pardee Hospital announced today that each of the three Buncombe County high schools for which Pardee Sports Medicine provides athletic trainer coverage has received the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School Award. A.C. Reynolds High School, Enka High School and Owen High School each earned the award, which recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student-athletesand reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment. Athletic trainers Steele Morris, Drew Hester and Crystal Shirk provide athletic training services to A.C. Reynolds, Enka and Owen high schools, respectively. 

Pardee began its sports medicine program in 2015 with the integration of well-established Western North Carolina sports medicine programs. The program expanded its services in 2016 with the addition of Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedics (SESMO), a department of Pardee Hospital. The partnership with this group of sports medicine and orthopedic physicians further enhances Pardee’s elite sports medicine program. The goal is to provide high quality preventive health care to student-athletes and contribute to the health and wellness of our communities. A major emphasis of the program is the utilization of athletic trainers (ATCs) and supporting their role as valuable health professionals. Pardee’s athletic trainers provide coverage at area high school and middle school sports games and practices. SESMO orthopedic surgeons are on the field during each high school’s football games. 

“We are honored that the high school athletics programs we support through athletic trainer coverage have been recognized by NATA’s Safe Sports School Awards,” said Dwayne Durham, MEd, ATC, LAT, director of Pardee Sports Medicine. “This recognition would not have been possible without continued support from the school principals, athletic directors and athletic trainers who work diligently to ensure our student-athletes are safe and have access to excellent medical care.” 

“We remain committed to the health and welfare of young athletes in competitive sports,” says NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “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.”


To achieve Safe Sports School status, as A.C. Reynolds High School, Enka High School and Owen 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 of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities.

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 44,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit www.nata.org.

Pardee Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds. Pardee Hospital has several locations separate from the main campus, including a comprehensive physician practice network, two urgent care locations and five orthopedic clinics. For more information or to find a physician, visit www.pardeehospital.org.

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