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Walmart donates bike and backpack to Edison High School to carry AED unit during off campus track practice.
STAFF VIDEO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

The New Jersey Scholastic Athletic Association is among the best in the country in the area of managing injury risk to high school student-athletes, according to the Korey Stringer Institute’s national ranking of statewide athletic associations.

The NJSIAA, which has long been a leader in implementing and adopting safety protocols, ranked fourth out of 51 statewide athletic associations, according to the institute’s Health and Safety Policy Ranking for High School Athletics, which was released during a press conference at the NFL’s headquarters in New York City last week.

North Carolina, whose state university runs the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, was found to have had the most comprehensive health and safety polices in place for secondary school athletics. Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Jersey followed.

NJSIAA officials, who have yet to issue a press release regarding their national ranking, may be reluctant to do so after National Federation of State High School Associations Executive Director Bob Gardner rebuked the institute’s report in defense of NFHS members who scored poorly.

Gardner alleged the institute’s assessment provided “an incomplete measurement of the efforts employed by states to assist their member schools with heat, heart and head issues” and claimed the rankings are “based on a limited number of criteria.”

A MyCentralJersey.com analysis of the NJSIAA’s policies as graded by the institute appear to corroborate the national ranking of the NJSIAA, which has long been regarded as a model for other statewide athletic associations.

Established at the University of Connecticut following the death from exertional heat stroke in August 2011 of former Minnesota Vikings football star Korey Stringer, the…