With the high school football season underway, coaches, parents, players and officials are encouraged to complete the Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know online course offered free of charge by the Indianapolis-based National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). In August 2013, NFHS reported that the number of people who have registered and completed the NFHS Coach Education course since it was introduced in 2010 has passed the one million mark. [According to the NFHS, as of November 2014, the number taking the course has passed 1.7 million].
Concussion in Sports provides a guide to understanding, recognizing and properly managing concussions in high school sports. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has endorsed the course and provided many useful resources. The course includes each state's return-to-play guidelines required for high schools.
"We place great emphasis on concussion recognition and treatment, and the extraordinary success of our online course has been gratifying," said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. "The course is 20 minutes long and it's free. We commend everyone who has taken it."
The NFHS and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) have worked with the CDC on recent updates to the concussion course. Recommendations have been added regarding the prevention of concussions, and the course test has been updated. The tests (pre-test and post-test) now include 11 questions and provide immediate feedback to the user, thereby creating a better learning experience.
Michael Koester, M.D., former chair of the NFHS SMAC and director of the Sports Concussion Program at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Oregon, is the on-screen host of the concussion course. Individuals have access to the course's printable resources, including a parent's guide to concussion in sports, a coach's guide, an athlete fact sheet and materials to implement a protocol for concussion treatment.
"In addition to coaches, we are pleased that many contest officials, administrators, parents and students are among the one million individuals who have taken the concussion course," said Tim Flannery, NFHS director of coach education.
The NFHS has been a leader among national sports organizations in establishing guidelines to deal with concussions. In 2008, the SMAC advocated that a concussed athlete must be removed from play and not allowed to play on the same day. For the past four years, all NFHS rules publications have contained guidelines for the management of a student exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion.
A total of 34 online courses are now offered through the NFHS Coach Education Program, including the two core courses - "Fundamentals of Coaching" and "First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches." The NFHS also offers 14 sport-specific courses and 18 elective courses, including 13 that are free.
All NFHS Coach Education Program courses are available at www.nfhslearn.com.
Want the most comprehensive concussion safety information on the Internet? Visit the MomsTEAM concussion safety center.
Source: National Federation of State High School Associations
Updated August 18, 2013