Panthers award grant to fund high school athletic trainers

Elizabeth City, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers and National Football League Foundation have awarded a $25,000 matching grant to benefit the health and safety of high school student-athletes in northeastern North Carolina.

The grant will expand resources for existing certified athletic trainer coverage in Pasquotank, Camden and Perquimans counties, as well as provide the opportunity to offer certified athletic trainer coverage to other schools in the region. Funding will also purchase critical equipment and supplies, allowing athletic trainers to provide a higher service level to student-athletes.

The grant award will be managed by Dr. Jared Miller, a sports medicine physician for Sentara Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists, Division of Albemarle Physician Services - Sentara, Inc. in Elizabeth City. Miller coordinates existing athletic trainer services with school systems in Pasquotank, Camden and Perquimans counties, which includes an athletic trainer at each of the counties' high schools. Miller collaborated with Dr. Sharon Rogers, associate professor in the athletic training program at East Carolina University, to develop the grant-funded program. The certified athletic trainers will cover all football activities, as required by state rules, and will be accessible to serve other sports' athletes.

"We appreciate the generosity and commitment the Carolina Panthers and the National Football League Foundation have made to improve our athletes' safety and access to care," Miller said. "Our goal has always been to provide the best care possible for our student-athletes. Fewer than half of North Carolina high schools staff a certified athletic trainer, so this investment is significant to our rural North Carolina schools."

Peter Vacho, the Carolina Panthers military and football outreach manager, said, "The Carolina Panthers are pleased to help provide resources to benefit communities in northeastern North Carolina. The efforts of Dr. Miller and his staff to deliver enhanced athletic trainer coverage to the region's high schools are important for the health and safety of student-athletes."

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