JENKS, Oklahoma - The 850-plus student athletes at Jenks High School may not have realized it if they've not needed it, but they have unusual access to medical care.

With young people competing harder than ever, athletic training is becoming much more important. And at Jenks High School, where they take athletics seriously, they also consider sports medicine to be just as important - and now they're being nationally recognized for their efforts.

Michael Catterson considers himself lucky because he works in what he believes to be the state's finest athletic training office; it's right at the end zone of the football field at Jenks High School but it's used by athletes from every sport.

"Getting the best care possible and the quickest care possible," he said.

Catterson and his staff can do everything from evaluating an injury on the field to the rehab for recovery. They do physicals and have the equipment for intense therapy.

While few schools have anything like this, Catterson said most don't take the first step of having a trainer available to athletes.

Catterson said, "The schools that don't have an athletic trainer are taking a big risk."

In November, a new law called "Return to Learn" took effect. It requires adults to more closely monitor athletes for concussions and get outside help to evaluate the injury.

Even before the new law, Jenks had a doctor on the sidelines and trainers always available.

That helped them earn a national recognition as a safe school for student-athletes - one of the handfuls of schools in Oklahoma to have that distinction.

"It was a long review process as we were going through it and everything, but it is nice to be recognized,” Catterson said.

For him, having the first-class facility is good fortune, but providing first-class care is not, it's the result of long-term planning, investment, and a commitment to providing the safest experience possible for athletes.