Study says Kansas ranks low in high school sports safety policies

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A recent study ranks Kansas near the bottom when it comes to safety policies for high school sports.

That study, done by the Korey Stringer Institute looked at how each state implements required policies and procedures to be prepared for injuries. and possibly, catastrophic events.

Kansas came in near the bottom at 45th, scoring 35.5 out of 100 points.

Today, high school kids buckled up their chin straps, as football practices began across the state.

John Kelly’s son is a sophomore on the Wichita East football team. He says the numbers from that study are a concerning.

“I’m surprised about that number and a little concerned of the well-being of the kids out on the field,” said Kelly.

It’s a study the Kansas State High School Activities Association is well aware of.

Executive Director Gary Musselman says while the study poses some intrigue, he doesn’t feel it paints a well represented picture of the initiatives the state has in place to keep kids safe.

“We’re requiring concussion education, we’re requiring heat and hydration education, information for kids, teens and coaches, we’re requiring lightning safety protocols, training kids to be involved in emergency response plans,” said Musselman.

However, Musselman admits, they are met with some challenges.

“We couldn’t require an ambulance at every high school athletic event if we wanted to, because there aren’t that many companies available to provide the service, we couldn’t require every school in Kansas to have an athletic trainer, a certified athletic trainer, at every practice, at every game of every level of team, in a perfect world I would love to,” said Musselman.

Musselman says they oversee 354 high schools and about 415 junior high schools in the state. He says they always put safety as their number one priority.

“We just got to continue a premium this knowledge and the culture of high school sports that the safety and well-being of kids is always paramount,” said Musselman.

Something parents, like Kelly, says is reassuring.

“We’d like to know when we turn them over to them, that they are taken care of and that that’s their primary concern,” said Musselman.

Musselman says they’ve also created a sports medicine committee.

The group of medical providers from across the state is tasked with advising and counseling the KSHSAA on how to develop better materials for Kansas schools.

This includes information they sent out last week to every school district in the state about heat related illnesses and emergency action plans.

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