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Missoula school officials address athlete, student safety

Published On: Aug 13 2013 10:41:27 PM MDT
Missoula school officials address athlete and student safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 4 million people suffer sports-related concussions every year and most are reported to happen to children and adolescents.

Tuesday evening Missoula County Public School board trustees discussed into student athlete injuries.

NBC Montana attended the meeting and learned that MCPS athletic trainers, coaches and all staff participating in youth sports will be required to complete safety training at least once a year.

Missoula Schools Superintendent Dr. Alex Apostle tells NBC Montana school officials understand how serious head injuries can be, especially for young athletes.

That's why Apostle says Missoula school athletic staff will be working with trainers from the University of Montana and around the state to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

“Head injuries are a very serious situation and we’re on top of that in terms of knowing what to do when students possibly are hit in that area,” says Apostle.  “Our coaches have been trained and we’re going to continue the training so that they understand how important those types of issues are.”  

Apostle tells us any athlete who suffers a concussion will not be put back into the game without doctor approval.  

“You read in the newspaper and hear on television about students who are seriously injured with head injuries, and we have to stay on top of that,” he says.  “By training our coaches and by making our athletic directors aware of what's available in terms of support and training, that's critical.”

Apostle tells us the athletic training is already underway.  

If you would like information about recognizing and treating concussions, click here.

Athlete safety wasn't the only safety issue trustees addressed Tuesday night.  

Missoula school officials also created a school safety team. The idea behind the team is to review all safety and security measures used in the schools to see what improvements can be made.

Apostle tells NBC Montana the team is made up of students, staff, law enforcement and community members -- all of whom will address better ways to enhance security in the schools.

He explains that the school safety team is comprised of three committees -- public safety, facility safety and mental wellness.

“All three are working together to come up with recommendations to present to the school board in terms of some of the things we  need to be doing in terms of safety and security for our students and staff,” explains Apostle.  

He tells us the board’s ultimate goal is to prepare for worst-case scenarios.  
“We're excited about reviewing safety and security in our schools and that we're going to do a better job in that area because it's very important,” says Apostle.  “Safety is actually priority one in our school district.”  

School board trustees and the school safety team have until July 1, 2014 to submit a final school safety plan.