In 2001, the National Center for Sports Safety (NCSS), a nonprofit, was founded by renowned orthopedic surgeon Lawrence J. Lemak, M.D. NCSS was created to promote the importance of injury prevention and safety on all levels of youth sports through education and research.
To raise national safety standards and discuss the growing concerns of youth sports, NCSS held a “Setting the Standard” Summit in Birmingham, Alabama (2002). The purpose was to “Raise the Standard” in youth sports through sports safety awareness. The summit was a success with more than 30 delegates from across the country coming together to collaborate their expertise to develop content for a sports safety course.
Two years later, after intensive research and content development, NCSS launched a sports safety course called PREPARE. PREPARE educates coaches, volunteers, parents and anyone who is responsible for an athlete vital skills that could help save a child’s life on the playing field or court. The PREPARE course gives the sports community the confidence and knowledge to prevent and respond to injuries and emergency situations until a qualified medical professional arrives. PREPARE is also available as an online course.
In 2007, NCSS achieved 501(c) (3) status after satisfying state and federal requirements.
NCSS continues to partner with many national governing bodies, youth leagues and state high school athletic associations to educate coaches on the importance of sports safety.
In 2010, NCSS produced a parent and athlete video to educate parents and athletes on preventative measures and ways to be proactive in youth sports safety. The 16-minute video covers five essential topics that parents and athletes need to be familiar with in the event of an emergency on the field or court. The video includes information regarding concussions, pre-participation physicals, cardiac and genetic disorders, heat illnesses and staph (Staphylococcus aureus)/ MRSA infections. The parent and athlete video has been reviewed and approved by the AHSAA medical advisory committee and can be viewed here.
This same year, NCSS began focusing on event fundraisers to help build further support for NCSS so that additional tools and resources for coaches, parents and athletes could be built and provided to continue “Raising the Standard” in youth sports safety.
Furthermore, NCSS continues to expand by educating coaches, parents and volunteers in basic safety techniques and emergency responses to ensure the playing fields and courts are safe for youth athletes across the nation.
In June of 2016, NCSS was selected as a finalist for the Birmingham Business Journal Nonprofit Awards. NCSS was nominated in the $500k-$999k category alongside the following nonprofits: Magic Moments, Triumph Services, and the Birmingham Education Foundation.