Public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul are getting help from the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings announced a partnership with the NFL Foundation on a hefty grant that will provide the 13 public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul a certified athletic trainer for their football programs. The NFL Foundation funded the project with $25,000, which the Vikings matched for a total of $50,000 that will provide care for ninth-grade, junior varsity and varsity football teams.
"I think that’s a really big deal," Vikings Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman said, according to ESPN. "We are not only going to cover varsity football games -- we are going to cover JV games, ninth grade games, we are going to cover preseason practices and practices during the season. (It's) care that these kids have never had. We hope that this is care that they are going to expect to get and it will be very beneficial. Nearly 50 percent of high schools in our country do not have a fulltime certified athletic trainer. This is a very, very big task and a very important thing that we are doing."
The grant will help lower injury risk and provide professional decisions to keep kids on the sideline when they're injured, as well as help determine when kids are healthy enough to get back in the game, CBS Minnesota reports.
The trainers will be provided by TRIA Orthopedic Center and will be on hand during all games and practices.
In addition to the trainers, the funding will provide transportation for kids who don't have a ride to the doctor's office.
Former NBA and Gophers basketball star Trent Tucker, who now serves as director of athletics for Minneapolis public schools, said the initiative will also help teach kids how to take care of themselves.
The Vikings recently invited the Minneapolis South football team and the family of Sha-kym Adams to it's practice facility in Eden Prairie. Adams, who played on the football team, died in a drowning accident at a Minneapolis lake earlier this month.
The high school football season kicks off across the state this week.