Youth sports coaches, volunteers must do annual safety training

Youth sports coaches, volunteers must do annual safety training

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health is reminding youth sports volunteers about new required annual safety training to make sure young kids are staying safe in youth sports.

The Coach Safely Act of 2018 requires unpaid or volunteer coaches or trainers associated with youth athletics, involving children under the age of 14, complete five training requirements on an annual basis.

The goal of the training is to make sure all coaches or volunteers are able to properly respond and prevent serious injuries for children.

The law applies to athletic coaches and trainers statewide for football, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, ice hockey and field hockey, lacrosse and other sports considered high risk for serious injury.

“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,” Betsy Cagle of the Injury Prevention Branch of the Alabama Department of Public Health, said in a written statement. “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.”

Coaches must receive training each year on:

  • 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.

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

Youth leagues are also required to maintain records of course completion by the individual coach or volunteer. The ADPH houses a database of those records submitted by the sports organization.

To review resources and find a searchable database of the names of volunteer coaches and training they have completed, go to http://alabamapublichealth.gov/injuryprevention/youth-athletics.html.