By Kyle Roberts
Chris Brister doesn’t do it for any personal accolades.
You can tell that when you talk to him about his role as the athletic trainer at Ruston High School — it’s all about the kids and making sure they have what they need to be successful, both on the field and off.
And that hard work ethic and care was an integral part of what led to Ruston High being named a 1st Team Safe Sports School by the National Athletic Training Association after years of work alongside former trainer Raeann Stuart.
“You do it for the kids,” Brister said of his role. “You want them to be safe, you want them to be healthy. We have so many different things going on as far as concussion and heat acclimatization, all those things. And we have policies put in place for their for their benefit, for their safety. And that’s what we do. That’s the ultimate goal: for our kids to be able to play and do something they love to do without the risk of injury.”
Brister also gave praise to Stuart’s efforts to help create the culture at Ruston High for athlete safety.
“Rae was a vital part of helping me get this into place,” Brister said. “She helped make sure everything was in place and set up. I give her a lot of credit.”
Ruston High School head football coach and athletics’ director Jerrod Baugh praised the staff’s efforts for the school award.
“Receiving this award validates and reinforces the great job Coach Brister is doing and has done for all the athletic programs at Ruston High,” Baugh said. “It also shows the importance he and our administration place on keeping kids safe and making this the top priority.”
For Ruston principal Dan Gressett, it highlights the benefits of having stability at the athletic trainer position.
“First of all, we are very fortunate at Ruston High to have a full time certified athletic trainer on staff,” Gressett said. “And we’ve had Coach Brister for many years. Not every school has that luxury. He and I spent thousands of hours in the baseball dugout together when I was still coaching. The amount of time and energy he pours into our athletes is probably not realized outside of our school. I am excited he is being recognized for his efforts.
“Secondly, as far as what this award means for Ruston High, again, I think it’s a testament to what Coach Brister and all of our coaches do for our athletes. The safety of our students, on and off the field, is our number one priority at Ruston High School. This award is a tremendous recognition and just reinforces that we are keeping our student athletes’ health and safety at the forefront.”
The criteria for the award include:
- Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
- Provide or coordinate per-participation physical examinations
- Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
- Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
- Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
- Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
- Provide or facilitate injury intervention
- Create and rehearse venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
- Provide or facilitate psycho-social consultation and nutritional counseling/education
- Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities
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