Courier Journal Wins Associated Press Sports Editors Award for Safer Sidelines

Courier Journal Wins Associated Press Sports Editors Award for Safer Sidelines

The Louisville Courier Journal’s multipart series, Safer Sidelines, focused on sudden death in youth sports, has been recognized with a prestigious sports-reporting award in the nation. Associated Press Sports Editors named the investigative project by reporter Stephanie Kuzydym as the best investigative entry for 2023. The project outshone entries from and USA TODAY Sports, among others, to claim the top spot.

Safer Sidelines, which was launched in April 2023, delves into the ways in which high schools, athletic associations, and lawmakers are falling short in preparing for worst-case scenarios in youth sports. A key component of the series is a unique searchable database of athlete deaths in the U.S. over the past century, offering valuable information for Kentucky parents and athletes to assess their schools’ preparedness.

Rob Byers, the Courier Journal’s investigations editor, expressed pride in Stephanie Kuzydym’s work on the project and emphasized the widespread impact it has had. The project’s findings have been shared at sports medicine conferences and symposiums nationwide, contributing to a greater awareness of the insufficient safety measures on high school sidelines.

The APSE journalism contest, which features various categories and divisions for outlets, has no size divisions in the investigative category. The Courier Journal’s overall entry for the APSE awards earned “Grand Slam” honors in tandem with publications like the Los Angeles Times and Omaha World-Herald. Safer Sidelines was also awarded first place in the sports, health, and wellness category for small/medium newsrooms by the Online News Association.

On a local level, Safer Sidelines was recognized as Kentucky’s best investigative story or series for 2023 by the Kentucky Press Association, which also honored Stephanie Kuzydym with the Jon Fleischaker Freedom of Information Award for her diligent efforts in obtaining records during the investigation.

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