When allowing a child to play sports parents are trusting coaches to be someone their child can look up to, instill a love for the sport, but most importantly someone who has the best interest of the child in mind. It is the coaches’ responsibility to plan and conduct practices that keep their athletes safe.
Particularly at the high school level, all schools should have access to a certified athletic trainer. A coach should not be the primary medical provider at any level of athletics, but should be educated on emergency care and methods used to protect their athletes. As a result the Korey Stringer Institute has devised the following 6 coaching education requirements that should be implemented by each states’ high school athletic associations:
All coaches and athletic officials should be trained in CPR, First-Aid and AED use
- This is essential training in that could be the difference between life and death. CPR, and an AED could be used while certified medical personnel are in transit.
- These certifications can be obtained from the American Heart Association and/or the American Red Cross
All coaches should be required to participate in ongoing education in coaching techniques and renew CPR, First-Aid, and AED certifications regularly
- It is important for all coaches to stay up to date with the latest standard of care.
- CPR, First-Aid, and AED certifications typically last 2 years and then must be renewed.
- Coaches should also be responsible for courses provided at the National Federation of State High School Associations Learning Center e.g. heat acclimatization; concussions.
All coaches should be trained by medical staff to recognize serious injuries and emergency situations
- All coaches should have a meeting with their certified medical staff before every season to be trained on how to recognize serious injuries and emergency situations such as exertional heat stroke, exertional sickling, concussions etc.
All coaches should be informed of the school’s policies and procedures, including the availability of emergency equipment and the Emergency Action Plan
- Every athletic facility should have it’s own Emergency Action Plan (Click here for more information on making emergency plans). Coaches should be comfortable with all the emergency action plans of the facilities where they play.
- This includes knowing where the closest AED and closest cold water immersion tub is, what address to give 911 if a call is made, if gates or certain entrances need to be unlocked for emergency personnel and other information their certified medical personnel shares with them.
All coaches should participate in a yearly practice for implementation of the school’s Emergency Action Plan
- Typically in cases of emergency, panic tends to ensure. To reduce panic and chaos emergency action plans must rehearsed so that everyone involved is comfortable and confident in their roles.
- A well-executed emergency action plan could be the difference between life and death in many emergency situations.
NFHS certification requires completion of: NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching, concussion in sport, and NFHS First Aid, Health and Safety for coaches
- All coaches should be NFHS certified. Certifications can be obtained on the National Federation of High School Association’s website.
USA Football also offers memberships which include courses and information on: Concussion awareness, heads up tackling, equipment fitting, injury prevention, conditioning, heat preparedness and hydration, and nutrition
- All coaches should have CPR/First aid training in addition to health and safety training. Training and safety resources can be found on USA Football’s website.