Participation in organized sports is a protective factor for at-risk youth. According to “Why Trauma-Informed Sport is Vital: A White Paper,” by the Center for Healing and Justice in Sport, sports programs for at-risk youth provide four main benefits: physical activity, which is good for the brain, body, and mental health; supportive relationships, which help youth heal from trauma; structure, which creates consistency and predictability in the environment; and competence building, which allows young people an opportunity to get better at something. While sports teams have historically not been intentional about accommodating youth affected by trauma, sport has tremendous potential as a tool for healing. By providing free sports physicals and sideline coverage, Sports MedCEEP helps youth rise above the violence that plagues our communities.
Through the Sports MedCEEP program, eight sports physicals events are be held annually for student athletes who might otherwise not have access to a sports physical. There is demand to perform 750 sports physicals in 2023 for student athletes who don’t have access to health services.
Sports MedCEEP staff also takes the opportunity to provide workshops on sports medicine careers, trauma-informed violence prevention programming, sports nutrition, sexual assault/intimate partner abuse, substance abuse overview, conflict resolution, leadership development, and financial literacy. Sports MedCEEP staff also educate local coaches and student athletes about sports emergency health topics, including concussions, heat stroke, sudden collapse, neck injuries, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions; as well as the emergency response skills needed for strokes, heart attacks, and gun violence.