Free course to help coaches manage sports injuries

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, February 26, 2009

As long as kids are diving for passes, jumping for rebounds and sliding into home plate, injuries and illnesses will be an unavoidable part of the games.

A free sports safety course at Jemison High School’s auditorium is an effort to help youth league and grade school coaches deal with those injuries.

“The course was developed really for coaches so that they know what to do in the event of an injury until professional help arrives,” said Dr. Lawrence Lemak, orthopedic surgeon and founder of National Center for Sports Safety, the organization that provides the PREPARE course along with Alabama State University.

The course will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 8, and the registration deadline is March 3. Registration forms are available at Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness.

The heat-related death of a high school football player in Kentucky and the ensuing court battle have emphasized the need for coaches at all levels to know how to deal with injuries and illnesses.

“Not only are we protecting the children, we’re protecting the coaches,” Lemak said.

Instruction is focused on the treatment of concussion, heat illness, cardiac issues and head and neck injuries. Also, the course will cover emergency planning, emergency recognition, principles of first aid, and warming up and cooling down.

Lemak said the knowledge is necessary for anyone responsible for children’s health on game and practice fields.

“I don’t care how educated you are and how much experience you have, when something happens it’s very unnerving if you haven’t seen it before,” Lemak said.

The NCSS was founded in 2001 with a purpose of reducing the number and severity of sports related injuries, and the PREPARE course was developed in 2003 and has been attended by about 5,000 coaches in the state.

For more information on the organization or the course, call NCSS at (205) 329-7535 or (866) 508-NCSS.