Photo: Flicktone (flickr)
State lawmakers want Indiana high school and youth football coaches to be better prepared to deal with concussions before they step on the field. Legislation requiring concussion education passed a Senate committee Wednesday.
Legislation passed in 2011 required schools to distribute information to students and parents about the risks of concussions, directed student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion to immediately leave the game in which they’re playing and barred them from returning until cleared by a doctor.
This year’s bill expands those requirements to all athletes under the age of 19 who are playing on public property, even if they’re not tied to a school. It also requires all high school and youth football coaches to go through concussion education courses.
Scott Hallenbeck is the executive director of USA Football, the sport’s governing body. He says Indiana’s requirements would be among the most extensive in the nation.
“Emphasizing the critical player safety issues of concussion awareness, equipment fitting, heat emergency preparedness and proper technique,” he says.
Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Bobby Cox says he supports the bill’s goals…but he’s worried about redundancy in the concussion education requirement.
“I think it’s important that we update our coaches, but if it’s the same edition and we take the class at the beginning of a particular program year and nothing changes in the curriculum, I don’t see the need for them to take it over,” he says.
Cox also expressed concern about the cost of requiring coaches to go through training every year. The bill unanimously passed the committee and now heads to the full Senate.