The Kentucky legislature is a simple consent vote in the Senate and the governor’s signature away from adding another layer of protection for high school athletes. The Senate Education Committee Thursday unanimously approved a House bill which would require coaches of all scholastic sports to go through much more training on how to deal with head injuries.
The added concussion training comes three years after the legislature approved training on heat related illnesses after a Louisville high school football player died after collapsing during an August 2008 practice.
"It will establish a standard protocol statewide that says an athlete that gets a concussion can not come back that day,” Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletics Association Commissioner said of the bill.
"All of this is part and parcel to keeping the kids safety first, but not necessarily feeling like they are indestructible,” Tackett said of the stepped up training on how to recognize and treat concussions.
The training will be integrated into the KHSAA’s current mandatory on-line exam, which takes four and a half hours for coaches to complete.
"We tend to think a concussion strictly being football but I've seen many seen many studies where soccer is right up there with both hitting the ball constantly and hitting the goal,” said nationally respected athletic trainer Bobby Barton. Barton was the head athletic training at EKU for 30 years and is a past president of the National Athletic Trainer Association.
Barton called the extra training “a great step forward,” but he advocates mandating a full time certified athletic training in each high school. Barton says currently only about 35 percent of the high schools in Kentucky meet that standard.