The Minnesota Vikings announced yesterday that they would partner with TRIA Orthopedic Center to provide certified athletic training coverage for all high school football programs within the Minneapolis and St. Paul School districts this season. As you can imagine, Hazleton Area Sports Hall of Famer and HydroWorx Award Winner Eric Sugarman will be involved.

The Vikings and the NFL will provide $50,000 for proper care of the 600 football players in the two districts. The nature of that coverage, quoted below:

The high school football programs will receive certified athletic training coverage from TRIA for camps, practices and competitions. TRIA will also conduct neurocognitive baseline testing as a tool for concussion management, offer ACL injury prevention programs and coordinate physician coverage for varsity football games. Additionally, Total Luxury Limousine has joined the partnership to provide medical transportation for athletes of need that require a physician’s visit.

In addition to that, there will be injury transportation services provided.

Ben Goessling at ESPN has more:

“I think that’s a really big deal,” Sugarman said. “We are not only going to cover varsity football games — we are going to cover JV games, ninth grade games, we are going to cover preseason practices and practices during the season. (It’s) care that these kids have never had. We hope that this is care that they are going to expect to get and it will be very beneficial. Nearly 50 percent of high schools in our country do not have a fulltime certified athletic trainer. This is a very, very big task and a very important thing that we are doing.”

The Vikings recently announced a commitment to youth football and player safety among younger football participants in Minnesota with the hiring of E.J. Henderson as their youth football director of development. This looks like one of those initiatives, and it’s great news.