Article reposted from First Coast News
Author: Clark Fouraker
At many schools across the First Coast, an athletic trainer is on the sidelines for only some sports.
An initiative called Project 17 has been working for more than a decade to fund and train athletic trainers so they can work with student athletes in public schools.
“It’s always been about how do we keep our children safe and healthy and out of the hospital,” said Michael Aubin with Wolfsons Children’s Hospital.
Project 17 announced Thursday they’ll be putting athletic trainers in new schools during the 2017-2018 school year.
Right now, seven schools have trainers supported by the program. Next year, Robert E. Lee High School, Wolfson High School, First Coast High School, Ed White High School and Stanton will get trainers on campus.
“You don’t see the parents who are standing on the side lines saying thank you,” said Larry Roziers with Duval County Public Schools.
He says the education and funding for the trainers is only possible through private companies, many that evaluate student athletes when injuries occur.
Those companies donated more than $225,000 Thursday to fund the new athletic trainers.
“[They’re] all working together to ensure that our student athletes are protected every time they touch the field of play be it practice, be it around prevention,” Roziers said.
Project 17 has partnered with Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida to educate athletic trainers for the school system.
It’s also helped schools create on site medical clinics where trainers can help keep student athletes safe.
“The Project 17 model here in Jacksonville is ultimately going to serve as a model for other school districts and other cities around the nation,” said Michael Spigel with Brooks Rehabilitation