Carbon County officials have proclaimed April 17 through April 23 as "Sports Safety Week" in the county.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the commissioners adopted a proclamation in support of an effort Carbon County Safe Kids and Franklin Township Athletic Association is working on to help stop sports-related injuries in children.

The proclamation, which Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, read, states, "Every kid should have an opportunity to participate in sports or any recreational activity that promotes regular physical activity ... unintentional injury is the number one killer of children ages 1-14 in the U.S. and approximately two out of five traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities ...

"Safe Kids USA and Safe Kids Carbon County Chapter promote childhood injury prevention strategies by uniting diverse groups, developing innovative educational tools and programs, initiating public policy changes, distributing safety devices to families in need, promoting new technology and raising awareness through the media ...

"Safe Kids Carbon County Chapter and Franklin Township Athletic Association have planned special youth sports injury prevention activities and community-based events for Sports Safety Week 2011 in an effort to educate families about child safety and sports injury prevention."

The commissioners recognized Mindy Graver, chairperson of Carbon County Safe Kids; and Wayne Wentz, president of the Franklin Township Athletic Association, for their efforts to help the children in the county.

Graver explained, "Safe Kids USA charged across the nation to come up with different ways of presenting information to coaches and parents and youth about concussion prevention injuries during sports."

She added that Carbon County Safe Kids and Franklin Township Athletic Association have scheduled two youth sports safety clinics in conjunction with this week. The clinics will take place at Phifer's Dam Field and Christman Field in Franklin Township from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, and May 14.

The clinics are supported by Johnson & Johnson.

Graver said the organizations are partnering with Blue Mountain Health System and Brain STEP program for the clinics.

"We want to get the message out there to the parents that they can do things to help the children prevent injuries during sports," she said.

Wentz added that it was an honor to be involved in this program. He noted that Carbon County is one of only 50 organizations in the United States chosen for the program.

"It's a great pleasure to be here with you (the commissioners) recognizing that this is what we need here in Carbon County," he said. "Thank you for allowing this. We are hoping our public officials in Harrisburg see what's going on here. We really need this program."

Wentz noted that the Franklin Township Athletic Association serves 552 children in the Lehighton School District as well as the Jim Thorpe School District.

Coaches of the 44 teams in the association will receive a first aid kit for the team if they attend the clinics.

For more information on Safe Kids USA sports safety clinics or sports injury prevention in general, visit www.safekids.org/sports [1].

The Carbon County Safe Kids Chapter is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids was founded in 1995.

In other matters, the commissioners reappointed Bernice M. Snyder to the Redevelopment Authority Advisory Board for another five years.

O'Gurek explained that this appointment was special because Snyder is 97 years old.

"She is the longest serving appointee in the county on a board or authority, having been appointed on Oct. 26, 1976," O'Gurek said. "She is completing her 35th year of service."

O'Gurek said he wanted to congratulate and thank her for her dedication to the county.

He added that the director of the Redevelopment Authority said that Bernice is"currently active, is the treasurer of the Redevelopment Authority, and provides knowledge, wisdom and loyalty."

Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein also said they were impressed by Snyder's active participation on the board.