Unfortunately emergency situations can happen at any given moment, and for many of these moments athletes are on the court or the field with their coaching staff and teammates. As beneficial as it would be, many sports are not being supervised at every practice and game by a certified Athletic Trainer or by another health care professional prepared for an emergency. In these situations, an athlete in need may have to rely on the surrounding coaching staff. A coach’s education and knowledge on how to handle emergency situations can mean the difference between life and death.
There are some minimum education requirements that every coach should know and follow in the event of an emergency. The Korey Stringer Institute has developed a number of points each state should abide by. If a situation should arise when a coach is left alone on the field and an athlete collapses due to a cardiovascular trauma, he or she should be capable of activating an emergency action plan and carrying out the necessary acute care in order to save that athletes life.
By not requiring coaches to be certified in CPR/AED and First Aid, and lacking the ability to recognize an emergency situation, states are not doing their part to decrease the sudden death occurring during sport.
The Korey Stringer Institute recommends the following guidelines:
- All coaches and athletic officials should be trained in CPR, First-Aid and AED use.
- All coaches should be required to participate in ongoing education in coaching techniques and renew CPR, First-Aid, and AED certifications regularly.
- All coaches should be trained by medical staff to recognize serious injuries and emergency situations.
- All coaches should be informed of the school’s policies and procedures, including the availability of emergency equipment and the Emergency Action Plan.
- All coaches should participate in yearly practice for implementation of the school’s Emergency Action Plan.
- NFHS certification requires completion of: NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching, concussion in sport, and NFHS First Aid, Health and Safety for coaches.