THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Safety in sports is perhaps one of the biggest controversies when it comes to athletes, whether it's on the field, court or track.

What You Need To Know

  • Thomasville High School is 1 of 156 schools across the state to receive the National Athletic Trainers' Association Sports Safe Award

  • Ashlyn Jones is an employee of Novant Sports Medicine working at Thomasville High School as an athletic trainer

  • Jones says she provided about 100 pages of documentation showing Thomasville High's athletic safety measures to the NATA for the award

For four years now, Thomasville High School's athletic trainer, Ashlyn Jones, has been ensuring her athletes' safety. Now, she has the award to prove it.

“It means a lot to show that we can get this award,” Jones said of the National Athletic Trainers' Association Safe Sports School honor.

“We are a smaller school, we’re 1A, so it shows we can still compete when it comes to our athletics as far as safety and that kind of thing with the bigger schools,” she said.

Jones said Thomasville High takes all the measures of a larger school to make sure all practice fields and games are safe.  

As a former high school and college basketball player, she knows about precautions needed to receive this award, which 155 other North Carolina secondary schools have achieved. Thomasville High had to meet a vast amount of criteria in the process. 

“Where we keep files at, like our athletic information, our EAPS, that we’re following best practices.... It ended up being 100 pages, probably,” Jones said.

That documentation shows Thomasville High School has a positive athletic health care administrative system, pre-participation physical examinations, safe practice and competition facilities, education to athletes and parents on potential benefits and risks in sports, and many other requirements.

Like any sport, it takes teamwork.

“We have designated people to do certain things. Most of the time I have my sports medicine girls here with me. That way it takes a little bit off my coaches,” Jones said.

And of course, she has a game plan to bring home the trophy and bring home athletes safely.