District Seeks Funding for Athletic Trainers at All NCHS Fall Sports Next Year

Saying it’s a matter of student health and safety, district officials want to ensure that there’s a dedicated athletic trainer at all New Canaan High School fall sports contests next year.

Because the Rams participate in such a wide range of sports across multiple venues, a single trainer “truly cannot cover everything that needs to be covered,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their meeting Monday.

“When we have contests happening in football and soccer simultaneously and we have different events going on, sometimes here [at NCHS], sometimes over at Saxe other places, home and away, wherever it might be, we have found a need for more increased athletic training services,” Luizzi said while presenting his proposed budget for next fiscal year at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at the high school. “As we have learned more about the importance of quickly addressing injuries on the field and become more aware of the danger of concussions and other things on the playing field, we believe this is a student-safety driven measure. So it is a modest increase in our athletic training services which will enable us to contract in the fall for weeks of support from an agency.”

Though it isn’t clear just how much the additional trainers would cost, Luizzi’s request—conceived by NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan, in attendance at the meeting, the superintendent said—comes as part of a plan to spend $115,000 overall for “contracted services.” The area that will see a spending decrease of about 4.5 percent from the current year, under Luizzi’s proposed budget, with plans to move some positions from contracts to full-time personnel.

The school board is expected to vote on a final proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2018 at its Jan. 23 meeting.

Board of Ed member Hazel Hobbs said she favored the presence of a trainer at all fall sports “because there are injuries” that can be very serious “and it is very hard for a coach to be a doctor at same time while trying to coach other kids.”

“[Coaches] don’t really have the background of a trainer to make decisions on the field,” Hobbs said.

According to Luizzi, the district would select which trainers work in the fall and each team would have “a consistent person throughout the season.”

Egan “has looked into this and done a lot of research around it and it is a good move for our district going forward, to help us maintain the health and safety of all of our students,” Luizzi said.

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