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Sports injuries: How schools are minimizing the risk

With new advances in medical treatment constantly emerging, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is working to make sure high school coaches, trainers and student athletes are taking advantage of these breakthroughs, minimizing the risk of injury and more effectively treating players who do get hurt.

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“Our coaches must go through an extensive certification program, both in the classroom and online, that stresses athletic safety,” said Bill Bruno, the assistant director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Bruno said it’s not just winning at all costs.

“We want to educate the coaches so they are actually developing the entire student athlete,” he said.

According to Bruno, there are specific concussion management guidelines that all schools must follow, and for contact sports like football, “we also have the new rule in place where the coaches are limited to 90 minutes of contact per week.”

He said high school coaches and trainers are also taught about how to properly train and practice in extreme weather, especially when it’s very hot.

Bruno said after the tragic death of Warren Hills Regional high school quarterback Evan Murray earlier this fall, a special team of former athletic directors has been visiting different schools, reviewing safety regulations and protocols that must be followed.

Murray died of a ruptured spleen after he took a big hit during a game.

“We feel we’re on the cutting edge of the newest information coming out, and that’s where our medical advisory board is so important to us,” Bruno said.

He also says while every effort is made to keep student athletes safe, “there’s a certain amount of risk involved, and the more we can minimize the risk, and I think through education and communication, the more we can do that, the safer our student athletes are going to be.”

Bruno will join other experts for a special New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall meeting on sports injuries, next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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