All 12 high schools in the Howard County Public School System received Safe Sport School Awards from the National Athletic Trainers Association, the system announced last week.

Howard is the first system in the state to have all its high schools win the award.

In order to win a Safe Sport School Award, athletic programs must create a comprehensive athletic health care administrative system; provide or coordinate pre-participation physical exams; promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities; plan for selection, fit, function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment; and provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes.

A school must also develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions, provide or facilitate injury intervention, create and rehearse venue-specific emergency action plans, provide or facilitate psycho-social consultation and nutritional counseling and education and educate athletes and parents about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities.

“Student safety and well-being is our highest priority,” Superintendent Renee Foose said in a news release. “This prestigious award demonstrates that all of our high schools go above and beyond the regulations to keep our student athletes safe.”