Wednesday, November 6, 2013

ASA Program Key Component of Sportsmanship Summit

Students from Torrey Pines High School and La Costa Canyon High School participated in a sportsmanship summit on October 28th at San Dieguito Academy.  Athletes Saving Athletes™ was part of this summit in an effort to teach students potential life-saving information and improve cooperation among the students.  The hope was to create student leaders who could reinvigorate a positive competitive spirit among the athletes and their fans.

According to published reports the summit focused on improving leadership skills and sportsmanship between athletes at the schools because of a growing number of incidents at LCC vs. TPHS events.  The most cited event was the boy’s lacrosse championship game last May and thenegative fan behaviors and post-game actions.  While students involved in the rivalry say it is typically healthy competition on the field the number of negative actions of spectators has become increasingly more common.  The rivalry has been ever present given the quality of the athletic programs at LCC and TPHS, but sportsmanship has waned in recent months.

The summit included guest speakers, often alumni of either LCC or TPHS along with the ASA™ program.  The ASA™ program presented its typical “head, heat, heart” program along with teaching Hands-Only CPR™ and how to use an AED.  The program creates student leaders, ASA Ambassadors, who are expected to go back to their teams and share what they learned.  The program also provided hands-on opportunities for students from each school to work together.  The ASA™ program was a key addition to the summit because of its ability to empower students with potential life-saving information, irrespective of team/school affiliation.   

Beth Mallon, Advocates for Injured Athletes founder and CEO was originally contacted by Kari Digiulio, Athletic Director at LLC to help “restore the relationship between the LCC and TP communities.”  Those involved thought it was important to start with the athletes themselves and the ASA™ program seemed the perfect fit, as LCC already had 70 athletes who went through the program last spring.  Additionally, the Athletic Trainers, Sam Villa (LCC) and Christina Scherr (TPHS) taught the curriculum as an example of cooperation between the communities.

Each school nominated and selected 100 athletes to attend the summit. The summit was held at a neutral location (San Dieguito Academy) in an effort to promote a sense of common ground.  Athlete safety is a concern for everyone and knowing how to recognize potentially catastrophic conditions and where to locate AEDs on campus is important for all athletes whether they are teammates or opponents. 

Beth Mallon made the following statement regarding the experience:

“We were honored to participate. We hope the program has a lasting positive impact in the lives of the athletes. We hope the athletes see each other as competitors, but also as the one who might need to step up someday and save a life. Our motto is "What you know may save someone you know".

The group of athletes was AMAZING honestly, I was extremely impressed with the students attending the program. They were polite, respectful, engaged and attentive. It was truly a very special group of young men and women. They should feel very proud they were selected by their coaches and their administration to attend the summit and represent their school.  We are proud as an organization that they represent ASA.”

Submitted by Heather L. Clemons, MS, MBA, ATC

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