Safety audit aimed to make football fields safer

      Little league football practice kicked off this week at the Fultondale Park and Recreation Field. The department is working to make this season safer for those young athletes.Today, the "National Center for Sports Safety" took a look at the field. The audit looked for ways to make the field safer.the NCSS is now creating a specialized plan for Fultondale, in case of an injury. It identified risk factors that could slow down paramedics from getting to injured athletes or spectators."If you have little league, if you have children playing around, there are going to be injuries," said Philip Loden, Fultondale Park and Recreation Director. "And, if you're not prepared for it, then, someone could get seriously injured or moved and not supposed to be moved and it could cause more problems."Loden is working with the National Center for Sports Safety to put a specific emergency plan in place."If there is a head injury, at least our people will know what to do now," said Loden. NCSS conducted a series of drills on the field in a safety audit. Those drills and what's learned from them will be used to create a safety plan for fields nationwide."To assess what changes need to be made," explained Britney Bates, Director of Sports Medicine and Outreach for National Center of Sports Safety. "Is the field accessible to ambulance entry and as well as what the roles and responsibilities of all the staff members would be during an emergency situation?"They began with a drill where an athlete was injured on the field. "That implies some risk of, how are we going to get on the field, who's going to make sure the gate is unlocked, who's calling 911?" explained Bates.The drill identified the need for a wider access gate onto the field for ambulances.The field's new plan will make that change.It will also add fire and rescue workers on site on game days."During the games, as soon as the accident happens, us already being here instead of having to be called from the station to the facility," said Trent Sharp, with Fultondale Fire and Rescue. "We're already here and ready to go."The parks coaches and staff were all trained for emergencies before today's training. NCSS says the drills showed that training was a success because they all knew what to do.