NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a $1.2 million donation to the city's Public Schools Athletic League from New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. The donation, made to the Fund for Public Schools, will provide 53 new certified trainers and EMTs to oversee all contact football practices at schools with varsity and junior varsity teams. As a result, nearly 3,500 high school football players will have trained personnel at their practices, helping avoid injuries and ensuring a swift response if a player is hurt on the field.
The Mayor made the announcement with players from Erasmus Hall and Abraham Lincoln High School, which are playing each other in the final of the PSAL playoffs on December 9 at Yankee Stadium.
"For any parent, watching a child take the field is a proud moment, but no matter how old our kids get, we still worry about their safety. This donation means thousands of our student-athletes will have extra support at practices to stay safe. We thank Steve Tisch for giving back and investing in the next generation of athletes," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"Organized sports are great for kids, keeping them physically active, teaching them about teamwork, and helping build self-confidence. But as a parent, I too have concerns about keeping kids safe. Having certified athletic trainers present on the sidelines will play a critical role in keeping young athletes active, healthy and on the playing field," said Steve Tisch, Chairman of the New York Giants.
"School athletics offer our students an enriching opportunity for physical activity, working together with teammates, and learning skills that they can apply in the classroom and in their everyday lives," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "In our campus schools, athletic programs add an important feeling of school spirit and help to build campus pride. Steve Tisch's donation ensures that our student athletes won't only be getting these invaluable experiences—they'll be safer than ever doing it."
"PSAL means so much in so many students' lives, and this generous donation makes our program even stronger," said Eric Goldstein, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of School Support Services. "Players, coaches and parents alike are extremely lucky that Steve Tisch has their blind side."
"This generous gift from Steve Tisch is a terrific example of how public-private partnerships can help New Yorkers across the city. With this grant, we are able to show our commitment to the health and safety of thousands of our city's student-athletes, no matter the zip code. By combining the flexibility of private resources with the unmatched reach of government, we are now able to better protect our kids on the playing fields," said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships.
There are 53 high schools with varsity and junior varsity football programs. Through the Steve Tisch Athletic Trainer Program, which began placing EMTs and trainers in schools this season, all 53 schools will receive a trainer or EMT for eight hours of contact practices weekly through the next football season. The PSAL provides doctors on the field at league games, but most schools do not have medical personnel available for contact practices, where there can still be a risk of concussion or other injury.
The Public Schools Athletic League is the longest-running scholastic athletic program in the nation. It provides competition in 25 varsity sports for more than 37,000 students at over 400 member schools.
"As studies have shown, there is a need to increase safety in organized sports like football. Our children's safety must be our number one priority, and putting medical professionals on the field at practices and games is key to making sure their experience playing football is a safe one. My gratitude and thanks go to Steve Tisch for this generous donation," said Council Member Steve Levin.
"As a former high school football player, I can personally attest to the importance of readily available medical attention for student-athletes," said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. "High school football players suffer more deaths and serious injuries caused both directly and indirectly by the sport than football players of any other age. This generous donation will help protect our student-athletes at contact practices and keep these future leaders active, healthy and safe."
"I am so grateful to Mr. Tisch for his generous donation to the Public Schools Athletic League. As a doctor, I have long been concerned about the permanent effects that poorly assessed sports-related injuries have on young lives. We can all rest easier knowing that, as a result of this $1.2 million contribution, 3,500 high school football players will have certified trainers and EMTs looking out for their best interests. I commend the Mayor and Mr. Tisch for their dedication to the wellbeing of New York City's student athletes," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
"What a milestone day for New York City's public middle and high schools and youth sports safety in general," said NATA President Jim Thornton, MA, ATC, CES. "The NATA commends Steve Tisch's dedication to the safety of young athletes by funding athletic trainers in underserved schools. This substantial financial commitment will benefit thousands of young athletes and gives parents peace of mind that medical coverage is in place at their children's practices and games."