Act requires coaches to be trained in injury prevention

The school year has begun, and that means students will be involved in several extracurricular activities including athletics.

Playing sports means the risk of injuries, so it is important to be as prepared as possible if a situation arises.

According to a press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health, 4 million youth sports injuries occur each year in the United States.

There are an estimated 60,000 coaches involved with recreational sports, and the Coach Safety Act was put in place by the ADPH to make sure each of them has the proper training.

Having the proper training is an attempt to get ahead of possible injuries and serves as a precautionary measure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of youth sports are preventable.

The act requires all unpaid or volunteer coaches and trainers associated with youth athletics for children under the age of 14 to complete five training requirements on an annual basis.

The training is only required for coaches who practice or play on public property. Private property is not covered by the act.

“It is up to each youth league to decide which set of courses they want their coaches to take to fulfill each of the five required subject areas,” said Betsy Cagle of the Injury Prevention Branch with ADPH. “Our website has links to free training options that youth leagues can use to meet those requirements, but leagues can decide how to train their coaches at their own discretion as long as they cover all five subject areas.”

The five areas of training include:

  • Emergency preparedness, planning and rehearsal for traumatic injuries.
  • Concussions and head trauma.
  • Heat and extreme weather-related injury familiarization.
  • Physical conditioning and training equipment usage.
  • Heart defects and abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

Health care professionals with acute life support training can be exempt from the course requirements.

Records of course completion must be kept on file by the various youth leagues.

For more information about ways to prevent youth sports injuries visit alabamapublichealth.gov/injuryprevention/youth-athletics.html.

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