Safety training required for coaches 

By Paige Clark

Indiana is the first state to require high school football coaches to take part in a player safety and concussion-training course.

click to enlarge TheStatehouseFile reviews new legislature in the feature series 30 Laws in 30 Days. - THESTATEHOUSEFILE
  • TheStatehouseFile reviews new legislature in the feature series 30 Laws in 30 Days.
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Senate Bill 222 - authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle - requires the course every two years. It takes effect July 1.

The Department of Education recently decided that "Heads Up" - a program developed by USA Football - fulfills the state's requirements for the new legislation. The DOE said other programs have submitted partial applications but have not been certified yet.

USA Football officials said that coach training is happening now in preparation for the fall football season.

"We're pleased that the DOE deemed that (Heads Up) cuts the mustard for the new legislation in Indiana," said Steve Alic, director of communications for the group. "USA Football is committed to establish standards rooted in education to enhance players' safety."

Alic said the Indiana legislation has "four legs" - heat and hydration, proper equipment fitting, technique, and concussion training.

The new law also requires football players to wait 24 hours before returning to the field of play after a concussion.

Joe Frollo, communications director for USA Football, said he hopes players, parents and coaches become familiar with concussions symptoms and "when in doubt, just sit them out."

Holdman said he received no negative feedback pursuing the concussion legislation.

"It's all been very positive," Holdman said. "Folks have been very open to get a handle on what is going on with concussion injuries."

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However, when the bill was in committee, some legislators questioned why Holdman just focused on football. He said that no other sports programs came forward with interest in the legislation.

Football "had all the programs all mapped out and ready to go," Holdman said. "That is certainly the reason we went with football first." He said that he has talked to Sen. Jim Merritt. R-Indianapolis, about implementing concussion protocols for other sports in the future.

Paige Clark is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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