On The Fence
Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 8/6/2014, 4:21 p.m.
With the prep fall athletic season nearly underway, much attention has been rightfully given to concussion awareness. As medical science is beginning to understand better the long term effects of concussions on the human body, the state legislature has jumped in to add yet another layer of protection for student athletes in HB 5431 that specifically addresses the need for coaches and athletic directors to pass a test on the subject after completing prescribed course work.
HB 5431 amends the Interscholastic Athletic Organization Act. The bill which was passed and signed into law early this year, provides that an association or other entity that has, as one of its purposes, promoting, sponsoring, regulating, or in any manner providing for interscholastic athletics or any form of athletic competition among schools and students within this State shall develop an online certification for high school coaching personnel and athletic directors in concussion awareness and reduction of repetitive sub-concussive hits and concussions. Provides that on and after the effective date of the amendatory Act, online concussion certification is mandatory for all high school coaching personnel, including the head and assistant coaches, and the athletic directors.
Additionally it sets forth provisions governing certification requirements for coaching personnel and athletic directors hired before and after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Provides that the mandatory online certification program content shall be updated annually and include a video, and sets forth the topics of focus. Further provides that to pass the concussion certification, coaching personnel and athletic directors shall review the association's online material and demonstrate proficiency on the test developed by the association. Requires the certification to be renewed every 2 years.
HB 5431 provides that high school coaching personnel and athletic directors shall annually require their student athletes to watch the video in the online concussion certification program to increase athlete awareness of the risk of concussion and sub-concussive hits to the head. Provides that high school coaching personnel shall encourage coaches of youth sports organizations to consider this certification.
With so much attention given to the issue it is hoped that steps taken by the IHSA, the Illinois Legislator and several school officials that there will be a significant reduction of related injuries which ultimately provide for a safer environment and off a better overall experience to all participants.