Your team’s best defense isn’t on the field. It’s on the sideline. Learn how the NFL can help you get an athletic trainer on your team.

Application Guide


As part of its commitment to promote athlete health and safety, the NFL Foundation is pleased to offer a new grant for public high schools in need of funding to provide student athletes with access to an athletic trainer (AT). The grant is part of a pilot initiative, currently available in four states: Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Oregon.

In collaboration with Gatorade, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society and the Korey Stringer Institute, the NFL Foundation will award up to 150 grants across the four pilot states. Each grant will be in the amount of $20,000, with the opportunity to receive an additional $15,000 over the following two years, if required criteria is met. The number of grants given will be at the discretion of the review panel.

In this application guide you will find tips and tools to direct you through the Athletic Trainer Grant application process, including:

• Details on eligibility and requirements for your application
• How to register and apply in the Grant Application Management System (GAMS)
• Information on each section of the application and what you need to provide to the NFL Foundation to be considered for a grant
• Requirements for grant winning schools

Please read this resource carefully and consider all requirements before beginning this year’s online Athletic Trainer Grant application. The guide contains all relevant program information, submission guidelines and requirements. You may also download this guide here.

Please consult the additional resources provided on this site to assist you in taking the first step toward developing a successful training program for your school. 



• Public high schools with interscholastic football programs in Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Oregon.
• Eligible schools must have minimal or no current athletic training program. Minimal is defined as care provided by an athletic trainer only for football games or competitions played at home.
• Applications will be accepted only from school administrators, or their designee, from eligible schools. Administrators include: Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Dean, Principal, Vice Principal or Athletic Director.


• Provide a proposal to employ a licensed athletic trainer (AT) to provide care, at a minimum, for all football practices and games.
• Establish a detailed plan and budget to obtain appropriate space, equipment and supplies for an AT to provide care for student athletes. At a minimum, schools will need to have the following items:
                            Blood pressure cuff
                            Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
                            Cold water immersion tub
                            Cervical collar
                            Pulse oximeter
                            Equipment removal tools 
• Develop a detailed plan for the long-term sustainability of  the athletic training program – both for the three-year period when grant funds will be available, and after grant funds are exhausted.


• Implement the proposed athletic training program by the start of football practice in fall 2017
• Complete and submit the first grant report no later than October 30, 2017


Demonstrate a commitment to improve sport safety at the school. For example:
                           • Implement and annually update an emergency action plan
                           • Review state high school association’s policy regarding health and safety and implement best practices for sport safety
                           • Participate in educational opportunities (e.g. webinars) provided by the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI)
                           • Adopt USA Football’s Heads Up Football training for coaches

Participate in research, including:
                           • The collection of data on injury surveillance, treatment and patient outcomes
                           • Qualitative research (e.g. surveys) to assess the successes and challenges of participating in and implementing the program


A review panel will determine grant awards based on the following criteria:
• Grant Sustainability – 40%
   o Application demonstrates significant stakeholder and community support for the program, and includes an extensive plan and budget for long-term sustainability of the new athletic training program.
• Grant Implementation Plan – 20%
   o Application includes plans to obtain necessary space and essential equipment and supplies for use by an athletic trainer (e.g. AED).
   o Application demonstrates a complete and thoughtful hiring strategy.
• Need and Impact – 20%
   o The application clearly demonstrates the school’s need for improved student- athlete care. The application articulates the expected impact and reach of the program at the school.
• Quality of Application – 20%
   o Overall quality of the application including narrative strength, completeness, and presentation and clarity of financial information


• Grant awards may NOT be used to replace existing funding for athletic training programs. Grant awards can only be used to develop an athletic training program where one previously has not existed, or to expand an existing but minimal athletic training program.
• Applications are limited to one per school. Multiple schools within the same district may apply independently, if eligible.
• We do not accept faxed documents. All required documents must be submitted online using the upload functionality. If you have any issues, please request assistance through the online messaging system within your application.


Grant Application Opens: October 19, 2016
Grant Application Closes: December 23, 2016
Grant Award Notification: March 2017
Athletic Training Program Implementation: Fall 2017
First Grant Report Deadline: October 30, 2017



Follow the steps below to register with the NFL Foundation. If you are already registered with the NFL Foundation then you do not need to complete this step again.

a. Visit
b. Click on the “Register” button at the top of the page
c. Fill out the information needed to create an account
d. Once your email is confirmed, log in to your account


a. Click on “Apply for a Grant” to access the application
b. Click “Apply”
c. Fill out the Athletic Trainer Grant application and submit it to the NFL Foundation for review

NOTE: The status of the application should say “Submitted.” If the status says “Incomplete” the application will not be considered. Please check the application and make sure that all required fields are completed so it can be submitted before the deadline of December 23, 2016.

d. Once your application has been submitted the Review Panel will review it. The status of your application should say “Submitted” when you view your dashboard. e. Applicants should also receive notification via email that the application has been submitted. STEP 3: WAITING FOR REVIEW The Review Panel will carefully review your grant application and supporting documents. Applicants should not assume they will receive a grant. All grant determinations will be made by March 2017.
e. Applicants should also receive notification via email that the application has been submitted. STEP 3: WAITING FOR REVIEW The Review Panel will carefully review your grant application and supporting documents. Applicants should not assume they will receive a grant. All grant determinations will be made by March 2017.


The Review Panel will carefully review your grant application and supporting documents. Applicants should not assume they will receive a grant. All grant determinations will be made by March 2017.

The Review Panel will carefully review your grant application and supporting documents. Applicants should not assume they will receive a grant.

All grant determinations will be made by March 2017. Email notification will be sent informing schools if they have been approved or declined. Applicants also can log into GAMS to view the status of their application.


If approved, the NFL Foundation will create a grant agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the award. The approved applicant will receive an email to inform the applicant when the grant agreement is ready to sign. At that time, the applicant should log in to GAMS to sign the grant agreement. The grant agreement needs to be signed by the person at the school who has legal authority to sign official documents.

The NFL Foundation will not send a grant check until the grant agreement has been signed by the person who is legally responsible at the school and who should receive the check.

– The agreement can be signed online or by printing the agreement, signing it, scanning the document and uploading it    to GAMS
– If you cannot scan the grant agreement document, please advise the NFL Foundation admin via the “Messages” function and the admin will send you a fax number to use.

NOTE: The grant checks will only be made payable to the school. The NFL Foundation does not issue grant checks to personal bank accounts.


Grant recipients will be required to complete an online grant report to the NFL Foundation, which will document how the awarded grant funds were spent. This report must be filled out and submitted no later than October 30, 2017. A reminder will be emailed to the school.

Every applicant receiving NFL Foundation grant funds must log into the GAMS system to complete the online grant report.

Failure to complete the grant report is a violation of the previously signed Grant Agreement and will make the school ineligible to receive further funding from the NFL Foundation for this program (i.e. an additional $10,000 in 2018 and $5,000 in 2019). There are no exceptions. Please note a second grant report will need to be completed in fall 2018 in order to receive the remaining grant funds.

Once you have completed your grant report by the requested deadline the NFL Foundation will review it. If the Grant Report is approved, the application will be "Finalized" and you will become eligible to receive funding in subsequent years. If all information is not provided in the Grant Report then it will not be finalized until all issues have been resolved.

As a public charity, the NFL Foundation has an obligation to its donors to ensure that its funds are used properly. By requesting that our grant recipients submit programmatic and financial reporting information on their respective grant awards, the NFL Foundation is able to fulfill these obligations and help promote youth and high school programs nationwide.


Before starting your application, please note that the following information will be needed to complete an application. You can start an application and save it to complete at a later date as long as it is fully submitted before the deadline (Remember: the application status must say “submitted” before the deadline in order to qualify for a grant).

Inactive and repeat applications will be deleted by the NFL Foundation administrator.

All applicants must provide the following information:

Contact Information

• The NFL Foundation asks for information about the applicant and about the school. Please provide complete details to ensure an accurate description of the school is provided.
• Please ensure that all contact information provided for your account is accurate and up to date. All notifications will be sent via GAMS to the email address on your profile.

Proposal Narrative

In this section, the NFL Foundation asks you to provide a detailed explanation of the proposal for an athletic training program.

The NFL Foundation needs to know:

• Any history of an athletic training program or medical services provided to student athletes at the school.
• A description of the school’s need for this grant.
• A detailed plan for how the grant funds would be used to establish or expand an athletic training program at the school.
• A description of the long-term plan to support this new athletic training program to ensure its sustainability both during the course of the grant term, and after grant funds are exhausted.

Please note, you will be required to submit at least one letter of support from the school’s superintendent, school board president or equivalent. Additional relevant letters in support of your application are encouraged (e.g. letters from Coaches, PTA, etc.).

NOTE: Help to engage grant reviewers by writing clearly about your school and community, and why this grant opportunity is important to you and how it will positively impact youth.

Partner Organizations

• If your school will be collaborating with any organizations or companies (e.g. a local hospital or clinic) to support this athletic training program, please describe their role and any funding or resources they will contribute to the program.


Grant request and budget:
• Applicants are asked to provide a request for grant funds. Please note that if awarded, the grant award will be $20,000 with the opportunity for an additional $15,000 in funding over the subsequent years of the three-year grant term, if grant terms are met. Total grant funding schedule:

                            2017 ‒ $20,000
                            2018 ‒ $10,000
                            2019 ‒ $5,000

• The NFL Foundation asks that you consider your budget carefully and plan for long-term support of the proposed athletic training program.
• The NFL Foundation requires that at least 60% of the grant funds awarded must be spent on salary or stipend for an athletic trainer.

Acceptable budget expenses:

• Athletic trainer (e.g. salary or stipend)
• Facilities (e.g. treatment table)
• Equipment and supplies (e.g. AED, tape and bandages, thermometer)

A sample equipment and supply list with price estimates is included below to assist in your planning:


Note: items with (*) must be purchased and implemented at school by the end of the first grant year to be considered for the second year of the grant program.

Required budget information:

The NFL Foundation requires that you submit a detailed and itemized operating expense budget for the athletic training program.

The budget appears in a table in GAMS and has two significant functions.

  1. You must detail the expense budget for the entire athletic training program. This budget should take into account all costs associated with the program and may be more than $20,000, depending on the extent of the athletic training program and associated equipment and supply needs.
  2. You must then describe how you will spend the NFL Foundation grant funds if awarded. This budget informs the NFL Foundation how the grant money will be used for overall costs. All applicants must correctly complete the required budget table in GAMS in order for their applications to be considered complete.

NOTE: A budget is required for the first year of the program (2017) as well as for the subsequent years of the three-year grant term (2018 and 2019).