By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Boys practicing with coach

Keeping kids who play sports safe and keeping all kids physically active are the goals of a new program launched by the NFL and American Heart Association.

Back to Sports provides certified athletic trainers with grants that will fund up to 100 community events nationwide for parents and coaches of students in elementary school through high school.

The events will take place during the 2015-2016 school year and cover proper hydration, prevention of overuse injuries, treating concussion and heat exposure and giving CPR to victims of cardiac arrest. For each topic, trainers will talk about who is at risk, signs and symptoms and how parents should handle suspected injuries. They’ll also share information about nutrition and healthy snacks.

Although youth sports allow kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, participation in team sports has declined in recent years – from 44.5 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2013, according to a Sports & Fitness Industry Association report.

“My kids are playing team sports, and you can hear the dialogue among moms that sports safety is a huge concern, no matter what the sport,” said Kim Stitzel, AHA’s senior vice president of preventive health. “Ultimately, we want to help keep kids safe and healthy while playing the sports they love.”

Among the materials that participating trainers receive is an AHA CPR in Schools Training Kit, which provides 10 inflatable manikins and an instructional DVD. Parents will receive take-home materials and sign an online pledge to receive ongoing sports safety and healthy living information.

Program materials were reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Korey Stringer Institute to ensure they reflect the latest scientific research about sports safety issues.

Back to Sports continues AHA’s nine-year relationship with the NFL, which began with the NFL Play 60 Challenge, a school-based program encouraging kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day.