Being able to identify the symptoms of concussion in youth contact sports is not only critical to the safety of young athletes, it’s also Erie County Law. Now there’s training to back it up.
The next session of “Concussion Law Training” being offered by the Erie County Department of Health takes place Monday at 7 p.m. inside the Erie County Emergency Services Training and Operations Center in Cheektowaga. Attendees of the course will learn to identify concussions, what to do when they take place, and when to pull athletes from play or let them return. Department of Health Community Coalition Coordinator and Course Instructor Kelly Asher said coaches and trainers will also learn about their rights and responsibilities.
“A lot of times they feel pressured, if it’s a big game, not to take the kid out,” said Asher. “Or the child says that they’re alright, that they’re fine because they feel pressured or the game is very important to them. They get an understanding how that’s not important. What’s more important is what this child is going to do in the future and that their health is more important than any game. They have years to win, but this is their life.”
Attendees will also learn techniques for sharing the knowledge they gain with younger athletes, helping them become “concussion aware.”
The training helps contact youth sports staff comply with Erie County Local Law Number 4. Certification is also available through online courses from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Federation of State High School Associations. However the in-person training provided by the county provides participants with a little bit extra, according to Asher.
“The difference between taking this here and online is they’ll get the printed materials, they’ll have a coach’s action plan right in their hand, they’ll get their certificate, and they will also have samples of sheets to hand out to parents. When a child is pulled out of a game you have to let the parent know right away. So you give them a sheet that tells them what to do and what to watch for.”
Asher said the local training also offers an opportunity for interaction with an instructor, shared experiences with local coaches and trainers, and a chance to ask questions about the local law.
Registration is free and available on the county’s website. Additional sessions are planned for the fall.