State kicks off Safe Stars for youth sports programs - WSMV News 4

State kicks off Safe Stars for youth sports programs

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Tennessee has kicked off the Safe Stars program for youth sports. (WSMV) Tennessee has kicked off the Safe Stars program for youth sports. (WSMV)

Parents signing up children for summer sports may want to see if their youth sports league has an extra safety certification.

Tennessee kicked off its Safe Stars initiative for higher safety standards this month. It isn’t required, but one mother told News4 why it matters for her son.

Kaela Davis wants her 3-year-old son to enjoy T-ball and stay safe.

“It’s good for his coordination. It’s good for learning. He gets to experience playing with children the right way because at his age it’s kind of hard,” said Davis.

She’s happy to learn the state is encouraging youth sports leagues to improve safety standards through the Safe Stars initiative.

“I think it’s great. It’s great to put into sports like that for children,” said Davis. “A lot more children are getting into sports these days than they have throughout the years I feel like.”

Leagues can apply for bronze, silver or gold certifications, checking off requirements including background checks, concussion training and emergency plans.

“We urge parents to go out and do your research when choosing a football team, when choosing an organization,” said Jermaine Knight, the head coach and vice president of the Percy Priest Ducks, a youth football and cheer organization.

Knight submitted for Safe Stars Bronze Level and plans to go for the highest level of gold.

“I can understand some parents, a kid may take a hit and if you’ve never experienced that hit, it’s more emotional there,” said Knight. “But at the same time, if you know and you trust your coaches and you trust the organization, you know they’re doing the best of their ability to keep your kid safe.”

The extra steps give Davis something to think about as her son grows older.

“You worry about your children out there. It makes you feel comfortable,” said Davis.

Safe Stars also includes training for preventing injuries and having medical staff for games and practices.

For information or to apply to Safe Stars, click here.

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