A new initiative targeted at improving the safety of children in youth sports leagues was launched on Thursday with hopes that youth sports leagues will work with the state to make their programs as safe as they can.
Safe Stars sets up three levels of recognition: gold, silver, and bronze, and involves implementation of policies around topics such as concussion education, weather safety and injury prevention.
The statewide program is a collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Health and the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports at Vanderbilt, and the initiative the first of it's kind in the nation.
Participation in the program for sports leagues is voluntary, but every league that registers will be added to a special website that parents can view to find leagues near them that put safety as a top priority.
According to the creators of the initiative, the bronze designation covers the most important safety protocols: emergency action plan, background checks on all coaches, constant presence of a CPR/AED certified coach, severe weather policy, anaphylaxis emergency plan and coaches being trained to recognize and manage concussion and sudden cardiac arrest incidents.
The Williamson County Soccer Association, for example, already adheres to most, if not all of those standards, so if they apply to the program, their name will be listed on the website with at least a bronze certification.
Sports leagues are invited to apply to the program for free, and once the program gets enough people signed up, they'll start rating them and posting those ratings online.