Indiana to require mandatory concussion training for youth, high school coaches

Indiana to require mandatory concussion training for youth, high school coaches

Indiana (FOX19) - Concussions continue to be a major concern in youth sports, but Indiana is the first state in the nation to require concussion training awareness for youth and high school football coaches.

Head coaches and assistant coaches will have to take a course approved by the State Department of Education.

The new law also imposes a 24 hour waiting period for players suspected of suffering from a concussion.

"There's those hits that you can say 'wow we might want to get that kid looked at,'" said Lawrenceburg coach Ryan Knigga.

Knigga says it's a whole different time from when he played.

"It's not one of those things where we say 'well I went back in, you need to go back in.' That's not the right thing to do with the knowledge that we have today," said Knigga.

Mitch Martin is a senior on the team and he's all too familiar with what it's like to get a concussion.

"I kind of got tackled from behind, I got slung and my head just kind of hit the ground hard and I was just dizzy and had a headache for a couple weeks," said Martin.

Ray Furney is the Lawrenceburg athletic trainer and he says just a couple years ago, they had another player suffer a concussion, but the after effects were much worse.

"He continued to have trouble focusing and concentrating in class, had repeated headaches and they eventually put him on an abbreviated schedule at school," said Furney.

Furney says that student couldn't play football the following year and he says it's important to take all precautions necessary if there's any indication of a concussion.

"The big thing I'm seeing with the young kids after that is their lack of ability to focus and concentrate," said Furney.

"If you're hurt, you need to tell coach because it could get serious if not," said Martin.

Coach Knigga says concussions are a key topic during the parent meeting at the beginning of the year. He says the state is currently figuring out if these courses are going to be offered online, but either way he's looking forward to other states hopefully following their lead.

"The more people that are certified and trained to maybe look for some of the key factors obviously you can maybe reduce the number of concussions," said Knigga.

Ray Furney the athletic trainer says this law is especially important because not every school has a trainer.

Now every school will have someone qualified to detect a concussion.

The new requirements take effect July 1.

Coaches will have to take the concussion awareness course once every two years and pass a test showing they understand the content.

According to the CDC, emergency departments treat more than 170,000 sports related brain injuries among children and adolescents every year.

In the last decade, doctor visits among that age group increased by 60 percent.

Football leads all sports and activities associated with traumatic brain injuries.

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