Tennessee introduces safety rating for youth leagues

Last week, Vanderbilt University in Nashville partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health to develop the nation’s first statewide safety rating for youth sports.

The goal of the rating is to cut down on injuries within the sports and to enable parents to make informed decisions about which leagues to participate in.

Alex Diamond, a pediatric sports medicine physician at Vanderbilt, told FOX 17 News, “We know sports are a wonderful thing for kids. It provides physical activity and confidence and health and well-being. There are risks, but a lot of those risks we can mitigate.”

The rating system, called Safe Stars, presents registered leagues with a bronze, silver or gold star to indicate how many precautions they have taken against the risks of youth sports.

The lowest requirements to earn a star include implementing an emergency action plan, doing background checks on potential coaches and training staff to recognize and respond to concussions, sudden cardiac arrest and other high-risk situations.

Diamond said, “It not only raises the bar, it sets the bar for the country. This is the first program of its kind.” The Safe Stars ratings will go public on July 13.-by Courtney Cameron, Athletic Business