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ECU students teach middle schoolers about sports safety

By Amy Adams Ellis
ECU News Services

ECU basketball player Janesha Ebron responds to questions from Farmville Middle School students at the sports injury clinic.
(Apr. 22, 2014)   —   Students at Farmville Middle School were treated to ounce upon ounce of prevention in their own gymnasium on April 16, when they participated in a sports safety clinic sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Injury Prevention Program, a joint effort between East Carolina University and Vidant Health.

ECU students led the sixth-graders through interactive discussions and hands-on demonstrations about concussion prevention, training and conditioning, hydration strategies, sports nutrition and preventing heat illness.

“Kids are getting stronger and faster much earlier,” said Morgan O’Neal, health and physical education teacher at the school. “We hate to see them get hurt at such a young age.” His students are used to seeing famous athletes in uniform during games, Morgan said, but they aren’t aware of the 5 a.m. workouts that help condition these athletes to compete safely.

Lindsey Dawson, a graduate student in ECU’s College of Education and athletic trainer for South Central High School in Winterville, said she was aiming not only to educate participants about injury prevention, but also to increase their awareness of the role athletic trainers play – before they reach high school and require their services.

“It’s important for them to become aware early on that things like hydration and stretching are important in preventing injuries,” she said. And sixth-graders are very receptive to this information, she said. “When I quiz them at the end, they know all the answers,” she laughed.

Following Dawson’s presentation, Niajah Barnes, who’s considered going out for the school’s basketball team next year, said she plans to “exercise, stay healthy, drink lots of water, and do stretching,” so she won’t be as likely to hurt herself.

“Game Changers,” a report released in 2013 by Safe Kids Worldwide, examined data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to explore what types of injuries are sidelining young athletes. According to the report, approximately 1.35 million children are seen in emergency departments each year for sports-related injuries. For more on this report and Safe Kids Worldwide, visit      


Contact: Amy Ellis | 252-744-3764