The 2018 NSTA Safety in Football Campaign Highlights Athletic Trainers.


Markayla Jackson

Athletic trainer Rebecca Townsend helps an injured player on the field during the Southwest vs. Southeast game.

Nicasia Thelen

It’s another Friday night at Seacrest Field.


The lights are bright as Southwest takes on Southeast. For fans and the football players, Southeast is their biggest rivalry.


While the coaches, parents and players get wrapped up in the game, that isn’t the case for athletic trainers, Crystal Kjar and Rebecca Townsend.


They have one goal: to ensure the safety of the football players.


“We provide an unbiased outside view of an injury,” Kjar said. “We aren’t worried about the score of the game or a star player. Our number one goal is the safety of that individual.”


Some people don’t see the full extent of what athletic trainers actually do.The taping and water and taking care of acute injuries like cramping is what people primarily see athletic trainers doing.  The prevention, evaluation and the rehab of the athletes all happen before and after the game, which are all the unseen things.


“People see us on the sideline doing really nothing because all the work is done before and after games,” Kjar said. “We are hoping we are not busy on the sidelines because now we have done our work.”

This is why all across Nebraska participating high schools highlighted the importance of athletic Trainers and their effort to keep athletes safe during sports. Through the 2018 NSATA Safety in Football campaign which focused on raising awareness about the safety of the young athletes playing football in Nebraska , as well as to show what the athletic trainers are really doing to prevent injuries from occurring. The campaign happened Aug. 20-31.


With the level of education and training that the athletic trainers have they are able to help prevent some injuries from happening. The athletic trainers are helping to make sure the athletes are in shape and making sure they are using the right technique. For a lot of football players this meant coming and starting training early in the summer.

“Getting them in during the summer and getting them stronger and getting them conditioned will lessen some of those overused injuries or some of the muscle injuries you may see,” Kjar said.


Athletic trainers are helping educate their athletes by making sure they know how to take care of their body.


“Nutrition and hydration. It’s not always what you can do in the weight room or on the field. It’s what you are doing outside of that to help prepare you to be the best that you are on the field,” Townsend said.

The athletic Trainers play a role in the lives of athletes. They are there to ensure they are safe 100 percent of the time, both on and off the field. The safety campaign was a way for different football teams to come together to help promote safety in sports. Each team participating in the safety campaign received a helmet sticker to remind them the importance of safety.


“It’s something the guys can take pride in, and show the camaraderie between all the other schools participating,” said Kjar.