January 2019 - 11

Also point out that coaches are trained to properly fit not
only helmets, but all protective equipment. This is another
vital step to improve safety.
4
5
.Require safety courses. Ask that your coaches
.complete the USA Football Heads Up courses. This
program provides proper techniques in how to safely block
and tackle an opponent, prevent heat illnesses, and fit
protective equipment. By teaching these fundamentals,
risks decrease and it demonstrates that you and your staff
are committed to safety. Advertise that your coaches have
taken these courses and are certified.
.Recertify regularly. Insist that coaches annually
.retake the NFHS Concussion in Sports Course. While
many states only require individuals to complete this
course before they begin coaching football, coaches should
refresh their understanding every year. Since this course
is free, online and only takes 25 minutes to complete,
coaches should have no trouble with this requirement.
Strongly suggest that parents also take this course, and
ask that athletes complete the Concussion for Students
course. This helps them to grasp the dynamics of a
concussion, the treatment and return-to-play protocols.
A better understanding by everyone is a big step toward
improving safety.
6
.Explore professional development opportunities.
.Have coaches seek out other professional courses and
opportunities to stay current on all safety developments. For
example, prioritize the NFHS Heat Illness Prevention and
Sudden Cardiac Arrest courses. For other courses that are
not free, set aside some gate receipts to cover the minimal
costs. Ongoing education is essential, especially as new
research and innovations improve the game.
While most coaches like to attend clinics to learn
new drills and strategies, it's also necessary they attend
conferences and workshops to gain knowledge in other
areas. Your athletic staff should learn more about
nutrition, hydration, conditioning, supervision techniques,
and other health and safety standards. Make the parents
aware of these efforts to alleviate any concerns about
knowledge and expertise of the school's staff.
7
.Introduce the AT. Ask the athletic trainer to meet
.with parents and explain their role in the prevention,
recognition, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. There
should be reporting procedures in place, and parents
should be aware of how they're notified in the event of an
injury. All of this should be clearly explained to parents.
If you don't have an athletic trainer at your school,
explain how everything is managed when it comes to
injuries. In most cases, coaches are trained and certified
to provide immediate first-aid and treatment, and
there should be emergency guidelines for handling all
contingencies. Make sure mom and dad understand that
while prevention is the priority, you have a well-developed
plan if injuries do occur.
Remind parents and athletes that there are risks
with playing any sport. While there are developments
and initiatives to help ensure safety, it's impossible to
keep everyone injury-free. But, if schools take concrete,
proactive steps to purchase the proper equipment and
train coaches, those efforts must be shared with everyone
involved.
While you may not alleviate the fear of all parents, a
committed athletic administrator can do a great deal by
extending some effort. Consider these all necessary steps
to improve understanding and maintain support for your
football program.
David Hoch, CMAA, has 16 years of experience as a
high school athletic director and served for 12 years as
the executive director of the Maryland State Coaches
Association. In 2000, he was named Athletic Director of the
Year by the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association.
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January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2019

January 2019 - 1
January 2019 - 2
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