2 Roane County youth sports organizations rank ‘Gold Star’ in state’s push to reduce injuries

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) – Two organizations in Roane County are celebrating for achieving the gold. This summer, Tennessee’s Health Department launched a new safety rating system called Safe Stars Initiative as a way to reduce the amount of injuries kids encounter playing sports.

Organizations can be ranked bronze, silver or gold. Safety standards for the bronze status include emergency plans, background checks on coaches, and an AED always on site, along with more standards.

The silver star requires medical staff on site for all practices and games, equipment undergoes safety checks, and more.

To be ranked gold, organizations must have all the previously listed safety measures as well as policies to protect kids.

More online: Star Stars Initiative

Just recently the Kingston Parks and Rec Department and the PRIDE Lacrosse team learned they’d made the gold status.

“That really surprised me,” said Penny Perry, a mom and president of PRIDE Lacrosse.

Her 15-year old son is on the team and while it’s fun watching him play, there’s a sense of worry.

Previous story: Tennessee sets up safety ratings for youth sports leagues

“You’re allowed to push and do some things in lacrosse you’re not allowed to do in other sports. So it can get kind of rough,” she said.

That’s why this spring when this Roane County team was created, they worked hard on meeting the state’s requirements to be gold status. Perry says it was easy and every requirement fell in line with their goals.

“It’s hard to step back as a mom and be an organizer. I care about all the boys on the team and so when one of them gets hurt, we all hurt,” added Perry.

It was a surprise for Director of Kingston Parks and Rec Rick Ross, to learn they’d met gold status and protect children from injuries, “This was a way for us to sort of get ahead of that hopefully and prevent it.”

Ross says there wasn’t too much to tweak, they checked to make sure they had the proper equipment, training, and they added a few policies.

“There was a severe weather policy when it comes to lightening, wind, things like that. And we had a policy on anti-bullying,” said Ross.

Both organizations will hold their gold ranking for the next five years, then they’ll have to reapply but going forward there’s peace of mind.

“I really think this program is really going to help a whole lot of leagues open their eyes as to what they need to have with them and what they need to do training-wise,” said Ross.

We’re told teams ranked silver or bronze can always reapply to qualify for a higher level.

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