Safety in Football Campaign

As a part of a Nebraska state-wide effort, the Nebraska Athletic Trainers’ Association, along with numerous state high schools, colleges and universities in Nebraska are sponsoring a “Safety in Football Campaign.” Read the information below and click the resource links in order to gain tips and directions on how your teams can improve safety, lessen the risks of injury, and keep the focus on the fun and camaraderie of football.

About Athletic Training and Athletic Trainers

Athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of emergent, acute or chronic injuries and medical conditions. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an allied health care profession.

Athletic Trainers (AT’s) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative service, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

How to Improve Safety in Football

Emergency Action Plans

Preparation for response to emergencies includes education and training, maintenance of emergency equipment and supplies, appropriate use of personnel, and the formation and implementation of an emergency plan. The emergency plan should be thought of as a blueprint for handling emergencies. A sound emergency plan is easily understood and establishes accountability for the management of emergencies. Furthermore, failure to have an emergency plan can be considered negligence. – NATA Position Statement: Emergency Planning in Athletics

For more information on how to create an Emergency Action Plan, click here:


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious. – Centers for Disease Control

For more information on Concussions, click one of the links below:

CDC Concussion Website
Concussion 101 – NATA

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. – American Heart Association

Though many athletes with heart conditions can live a normal life and not experience health-related problems, sudden fatality from a heart condition is the leading medical cause of death in NCAA athletes, responsible for 75 percent of all sudden deaths that occur during exercise, training or competition. – National Collegiate Athletics Association

For more information on Sudden Cardiac Arrest, click one of the links below:

National Collegiate Athletics Association
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) – Korey Stringer Institute
Sudden Cardiac Arrest – Infographic – NATA

Heat Related Illness

Heat illnesses are a spectrum of illnesses that occur due to heat exposure. This heat exposure can come from either environmental heat (air temperature) or simply intense exercise. These conditions can range from minor heat cramps to life-threatening heat stroke. As with all emergency conditions, there are steps that you can take to prevent heat illnesses, such as proper hydration, heat acclimatization or body cooling. – Korey Stringer Institute

According to the CDC, heat illness during practice or competition is the leading cause of death among U.S. high school athletes. – National Athletic Trainers’ Association

For more information on Heat Related Illness, click one of the links below:

Beat the Heat – NATA
Parents and Coaches Guide to Heat Illness – NATA


According to the CDC, lightning strikes Earth more than 8 million times per day. NOAA reports that from 2004-2013, 33 people were killed and 234 injured due to lightning, and on average, lightning strikes are fatal to about 10% of people who are struck, while the remain 90% survive but with long-term, often debilitating symptoms – National Athletic Trainers’ Association

If thunder roars – GO INDOORS!” Everyone should be in safe zones BEFORE lightning reaches the playing field. – Korey Stringer Institute

For more information on Lighting Safety, click the links below:

Lightning Do’s and Don’ts – NATA

Sickle Cell

In 2002, the NATA Task Force for Sickle Cell Trait Awareness determined that over the past four decades, exertional sickling has killed at least 15 football players. In the past seven years prior to publishing, it was reported that exertional sickling was the cause of nine student athlete deaths. Of the 136 total sudden, non-traumatic sports deaths in high school and collegiate sports over a decade, 5% were from exertional sickling. – National Athletic Trainers’ Association

For more information on Sickle Cell, click one of the links below:

Sickle Cell Trait Fact Sheet for Student Athletes – NCAA
Sickle Cell Trait Fact Sheet for Coaches – NCAA


Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. For many asthma sufferers, timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. And, some otherwise healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising. – American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

For more information on Asthma, click one of the links below:

Asthma Fast Facts for Kids – CDC
NATA Infographic – Asthma