Caldwell County High School received the National Athletic Trainers' Association Safe Sports School award for its Tigers athletic programs.

Athletic Director Kim Farmer said working closely with Mike Long, the school district's certified athletic trainer from Baptist Health, has enabled the program to meet national standards.

"He provides care for our students during practices, on the field, off the field, even follow-up care," said Farmer, a Princeton local. "I've been doing this for about 15 years and he's the best that I've worked with at that."

Last year, CCHS had 249 athletes participating in fall and spring sports.

She said Long began working on emergency medical plans for Caldwell County athletes in the spring. He came to her and let her know he was working towards a national certification.

"There are 2,500 schools that receive this award," Farmer said. "We were one out of 30 Kentucky schools to get it."

She said five of the Kentucky schools have partnerships with Baptist Health. Caldwell County has worked with Baptist Health since 1997.

The award allows for coaches to focus on athletic development, mitigates risk and liability of potential catastrophic injuries, ensures proper on-site health care facility standards, develops and annually reviews an emergency action plan, maintains criteria for qualified medical personnel providing athletic health care and meets national standards of appropriate medical care, according to a news release.

"I can speak on Mike's behalf -- he knows our student athletes by name, he knows all of the injuries that they have, he gives excellent follow-up care and this (award) was his child," Farmer said. "He gives athletic directors, coaches and parents peace of mind as their athletes are out on the field."

She said student care is his number one priority.

"Caldwell County is honored to receive this first team recognition from NATA," said Farmer. "We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices, and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health."

"Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players."

Long said Caldwell County is a wonderful community with great coaches to work with.

"They have the safety of our kids in mind and I work alongside them," Long said.

There are 51 safety policies and procedures the school had to meet to get the award, he said.

"A lot of those things were really easy to obtain because both the coaches and athletic administration already did them," Long said. "It's just easy for us to have a resource to look back on."

"If accidents do happen, and sometimes they will, we have a plan in place on how to take care of that," Long said.

He said Caldwell County will continue having the resources to take care of student athletes in their time of need.

Superintendent Nate Huggins expressed his gratitude towards Long and Farmer for their hard work at Monday night's school board meeting.