An effort to provide more high school football players better access to an athletic trainer on their sidelines.

More Athletic Trainers Needed

Nearly two-thirds of high schools across the country lack a full-time athletic trainer.

Just under a third of schools have no athletic trainer at all.

New funding will soon be awarded to public high schools in Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Oregon with limited or no access to an athletic trainer.

It’s part of a pilot program to see what can work to address this important need.

Football at All Levels

The NFL Foundation, in collaboration with Gatorade, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS), announced the new pilot program.

Up to 150 grants will be awarded to public high schools in the four pilot states. Each grant will be in the amount of $35,000 awarded over a three-year period to fund an athletic training program.

Further information on the program and the grant process and eligibility can be found at:

A review panel will direct the awards. The Korey Stringer Institute will both administer the grants and assess the impact of the pilot program.

“The NFL is committed to enhancing the safety of football at all levels,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are proud of the important work that athletic trainers do on the sidelines and in training facilities nationwide. We look forward to testing this pilot program as part of our effort to increase access to athletic trainers in local communities and improve sports safety for many more young athletes.”

Expanding on Existing Efforts

The pilot program is an expansion of other similar initiatives developed and implemented by the NFL Foundation and its partners over the past two years.

In 2014, the NFL Foundation established a grant program designed to help NFL teams increase access to athletic trainers in their communities. To date, 20 NFL clubs have utilized these grants to support local schools and leagues. Last year, the NFL Foundation—with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Gatorade—expanded this effort through a contest open to high schools nationwide.

These initiatives have underscored the need for funding for athletic trainers and provided useful insight into potential methods of addressing this need.