SmartTeams: Smart Teams Play Safe™

Building on the Six Pillars™ concussion risk management model featured in MomsTEAM's PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer," the Institute is working with national, state, regional and local youth sports organizations (YSOs), university athletic training departments, parents, health care professionals, allied non-profits, governmental agencies and other experts to aggregate and/or develop and disseminate comprehensive, sport- and issue-specific, and easy-to-understand "best practice" standards of care templates and checklists covering all aspects of youth sports health and safety, from injury prevention and risk reduction, and nutrition and hydration guidelines, to preventing all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Once such best practices are established, local programs will be encouraged to apply to become SmartTeams.

Smart Teams play safe

The Institute will celebrate and highlight SmartTeam™ programs on its website, a stand-alone website (www.smartteamsplaysafe) and via social media, and add them to a database identifying every program that has achieved SmartTeam™ status.

Six pilot programs were conducted around the country in the fall of 2014, coordinated by the following outstanding athletic training educators:

Tracey Covassin, Ph.D., ATC
Associate Professor
Undergraduate Athletic Training Program Director
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
For full biography, click here.
Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, Ph.D., ATC, FNATA
John P. Wood, D.O., Endowed Chair for Sports Medicine
Professor, Athletic Training Program
Director, Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory,& Director, Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
A.T. Still University
Mesa, Arizona
For full biography, click here.
Director Athletic Training 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Athletic Training
The University of Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma 
For full biography, click here.
Gary Wilkerson, EdD, ATC
Graduate Athletic Training Education Program
Department of Health & Human Performance
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
For full biography, click here.
Susan Yeargin, Ph.D., ATC
Assistant Professor
Physical Education and Athletic Training Department
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Marisa A. Colston, PhD, ATC
UC Foundation Professor of Health and Human Performance
HHP Graduate Coordinator; AT Program Director
Health and Human Performance
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee



Further details about the SmartTeamsTM program were announced by the pilot program coordinators at the 2014 SmartTeams Play Safe Summit at the Harvard Medical School on Monday, September 15, 2014, and one, the Grand Prairie, Texas SmartTeam program coordinated by Cindy Trowbridge from the University of Texas at Arlington was featured two days later on NBC's "Today Show."  For more information about the SmartTeams program, send an email to  To donate to help us launch the program nationally in 2015, click here.