High school coaches, staff may face required training

athletic coaches will be required to receive CPR training state wide
photo credits: getty images

While participating in extracurricular sports, it is important to have staff members such as athletic trainers and directors nearby in case of a medical emergency. For example, if a student-athlete loses consciousness, immediate assistance is required.

However, if the trained staff are not in close proximity and have to be called in, valuable time is being wasted. 

In an effort to cover all bases and save as many lives as possible, Florida state Senator Jay Collins, from Tampa, has produced Senate Bill 830, which aims to ensure all employed athletic coaches at public schools are certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and the use of a defibrillator. Volunteer coaches who are not employed by the school district in any way are not required to receive any certifications.

If passed, this bill will ensure that student-athletes’ safety during practices and games is maximized.

Rico Williams, the head basketball coach at Mariana High School, is required to be certified as a part of his coaching contract. He believes all coaches should be knowledgeable in CPR. 

“I think this will be beneficial, if it saves one life it’s worth it because sometimes you don’t have an athletic trainer so it’s good to have as many trained hands nearby as possible,” Williams said. “Our district sets it up every year so that all the coaches are CPR certified and we have to learn how to work the defibrillator. We also take a safety class on heat illness every year.” 

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about 23,000 children and teens experience sudden cardiac arrest every year. A great number of these result in fatalities but can be reduced by knowing the warning signs, being prepared and taking action. Some signs include chest pains, dizziness, seizures and fainting. Former high school football coach Dean Smith is glad requirements may be put in place, but thinks the same standards should apply to everyone. 

“I think it’s really great that all employed coaches in the state may possibly be required to have these certifications, because as a former high school coach I definitely had situations where students needed medical attention and I was the only one around to help,” Smith said. “ I do think, however, all coaches, whether employed by the school district or volunteering, should be getting the same certifications.” 

According to the bill, coaches may have a temporary or permanent coaching certificate. “The athletic coaching certificate may be used for either part-time or full-time positions.”

Currently, the bill is pending reference review.