The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) remains at the forefront of the concussion issue in sports as more than 200,000 individuals have taken the “Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know” online course.
Developed by the NFHS in May 2010 as a part of its Coach Education Program, this free online course, which can be accessed at www.nfhslearn.com, provides a brief overview of how a person can recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
“We are pleased that high school coaches and administrators are continuing to educate students, parents and others about the issue of concussion in sports,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “This course is a tremendous resource to help the leaders in high school sports as they seek to minimize the risk of injury for our nation’s student-athletes.”
The course is hosted by Michael Koester, M.D., chair of the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and director of the Sports Concussion Program at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Oregon. 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.
The NFHS has been the 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. In 2009, the position was adopted by a leading group of sports concussion experts and the National Football League (NFL).
All NFHS rules publications covering 17 sports contain guidelines for the management of a student exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion. The language reads: “Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, such as loss of consciousness, headaches, dizziness, confusion or balance problems, shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.”
The NFHS Coach Education Program began in 2007 with two core courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid for Coaches. To date, more than 150,000 coaches have completed Fundamentals of Coaching, and 45 of the 51 NFHS member associations have adopted or recommended the course. All 21 of the NFHS coach education courses, including sport-specific courses for basketball, football, soccer, softball, spirit, track and field, volleyball and wrestling, are available at www.nfhslearn.com