Spring Hill ISD was recently honored as one of 10 schools across the state to receive the coveted First Team National Athletic Trainers' Association Safe Sports School Award.

The award recognizes schools that make safety of student athletes a top priority. To receive first team recognition, schools must act all the recommended and required elements.

Spring Hill is the only school in East Texas to receive such distinction. Other schools across the state included Alton Memorial Junior High, Kenneth White Junior High in Mission, Lehman High School in Kyle, Lake Highlands High School, and Junior High, Manvel High School, New Caney High School, Porter High School along with The Hockaday School in Dallas.

"I'd put an application in for consideration. It goes through a process of making sure as a school district you're doing all the right things for your kids and community," said head trainer Katie Billingslea. "That includes having an AED (automated external defibrillator) at every sporting event and having an emergency action plan for every field or facility you have."

Billingslea, who has been with Spring Hill ISD for five years, said the process of qualifying for such a prestigious honor has been in the works for some time.

"We've made sure that all those things were in place. It's important that we were doing the right things for our school district," Billingslea explained.

"I really liked our chances of being recognized because we've spent the last five years working hard to make sure Spring Hill has the best health care and athletic training program. We took the necessary steps to make sure we were in the running."

Among the criteria, as established by NATA, it includes creating a positive health care administrative program, provide or coordinate per-participation for physical examinations, promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities and making sure athletes and parents are educated on the benefits and risks involved in sport and their responsibilities.

"We've done all the things to make sure Spring Hill is covered properly. I was so excited we received this honor. I take a lot of pride in our program," said Billingslea. "I want Spring Hill to be the best whether it's athletics, athletic training or academics. We've worked extremely hard these past five years to put the program where it should be for a 4A school."

Billingslea lauded the work of assistant trainer Kim Higgs and said she was a vital component in making things work.

Members of the high school training staff include Anabelle Casimiro, Lexi Smith, Felicity Jacob, Colby Horn, Mia Traylor, Lacey Allen and Lainee Cornell.

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