Northwell Health Partnership Yields National Safe Sports School Award

Dr. Nicholas Sgaglione,Martina Luce, Don Lang, Michael Gonzalez, Janice Nunziatta, Jennifer Imperiale, and Daniel Vaknin.

Through a partnership between North Shore High School and Northwell Health, the Glen Head-based secondary school was recently named a First Team Safe Sports School by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). The Safe Sports School program promotes sport safety and injury prevention for youth athletes, as well as athlete and parent education at the secondary school level.

North Shore was the only high school in New York State to receive first-team recognition in 2016 and it became the 14th school in New York and first in Nassau County to achieve that status. To achieve the award, North Shore partnered with the Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute and Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS), which provides both sports medicine and rehabilitation services.

“With the great group of orthopedic doctors and the great reputation of Northwell Health, our student-athletes have great access to quality health and wellness care,” said Don Lang, director of athletics, physical education, health and intramurals at North Shore Schools.

Michael Gonzalez, an athletic trainer with STARS, was instrumental in helping North Shore earn the award. He developed a strength and conditioning program for student-athletes competing in football, lacrosse, basketball and soccer. “North Shore High School is honored to receive this first-team recognition from NATA,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “We remain committed to keeping our student-athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.”

“The longstanding partnership between North Shore High School and the Northwell Health Sports Medicine Program has benefited the North Shore community for many years.  We look forward to continuing to provide expert care and treatment to students, athletes, teachers, coaches and their families,” said Nicholas A. Sgaglione, MD, professor and chair of orthopaedic surgery at Northwell Health.

NATA established the Safe Sports Schools program in 2013 as injury prevention and awareness in high school and youth sports saturated the national spotlight. The association’s strict guidelines help prevent injury and provide quality care and treatment, and are intended to:

•           Create a positive athletic health care administrative system

•           Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations

•           Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities

•           Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment

•           Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes

•           Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions

•           Provide or facilitate injury intervention

•           Create and rehearse a venue-specific emergency action plan

•           Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education

“We remain committed to the health and welfare of young athletes in competitive sports,” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD. “This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur.”

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 43,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit