Sanford Health recognized for promoting youth sports

Jon Berg
Sanford Health Media Relations
605-366-2432 /

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Sept. 15, 2021 — The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is pleased to recognize Sanford Health as a National Youth Sports Strategy (NYSS) Champion.

Sanford Health continuously engages young athletes in communities across the Midwest by providing sports medicine coverage to more than 140 high schools, middle schools, clubs, and youth sporting events. The health system also provides more than 150,000 annual contacts in sports performance through Sanford POWER and sports academies as well as influences kids’ whole-health and wellness through the Sanford Fit program.

“We have always had a focus on youth development and supporting youth sports in the communities we serve,” said Nate Blessen, system executive director of cardiovascular, orthopedics and sports medicine. “We have excellent partnerships across the country that help to enhance youth sports in our communities.”

As a NYSS Champion, Sanford has demonstrated its commitment to support safe, fun, inclusive, developmentally appropriate, and accessible youth sports opportunities.

“We know children who obtain regular physical activity gain important physical and mental health benefits, which are more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains RADM Paul Reed, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. “I’m thrilled to acknowledge the work of the NYSS Champions who are helping to foster a lifelong love of sports and physical activity for our Nation’s youth.”

The NYSS is a federal roadmap with actionable strategies for youth, adults who interact with youth, organizations, communities, and public policy makers to increase participation in youth sports and improve the youth sports experience. The NYSS vision is that one day all youth will have the opportunity, motivation, and access to play sports — regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, ability, or ZIP code. NYSS Champions are recognized for working towards achieving this vision.

Sanford is recognized along with other NYSS Champions on as part of a growing network of organizations partnering with HHS to improve the youth sports landscape in America.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.

About the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

ODPHP plays a vital role in keeping the Nation healthy through Healthy People 2030, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, and other programs, services, and education activities. ODPHP is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about ODPHP visit or follow @HealthGov on Twitter.