Football coaches in Indiana may soon have to prove their knowledge of the sport before they step on the sidelines.
Republican Senator Travis Holdman from Markle is pushing for a law to require certification.
He introduced the legislation last year. It passed in the Senate, but stalled in the House and Holdman plans to bring it back next session because he believes it will have the support to become law.
“I think we just need to do a little more education than what we had time to do this last session,” said Holdman. “We believe that when legislators really have a chance to look at what the issues are, what it can do for our kids, for players safety for our youth in the state of Indiana, we think there won’t be any question that they will endorse it. Then, we will have legislation come out next session.”
The law would require coaches to pass a roughly-two hour online course to prove their knowledge of dealing with concussions, conditioning, and coaching philosophy.
Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck believes as the game evolves, coaches need more understanding.
He says youth football participation declined last year and says safety is part of the reason.
“Clearly we know more about the safety concerns so it’s an opportunity to meld those together – teach you the proper fundamentals and bring you up to speed on the new aspects of where we stand today with a better, safer game,” he said. “We just feel it’s time we set a standard that you can’t walk on a football field until you are actually certified.”
Former Purdue player and Super Bowl Champion Rosevelt Colvin is joining the effort. He now coaches his sons’ football teams and says certified, more knowledgeable coaches will help the game continue to grow and improve.
"I remember when I was at Broad Ripple High School we lined up and hit a sled to see how hard we could hit it to knock the springs out of it just to make you tougher" he recounted. "It’s a different game. It’s a different day and age and we see the results of those now as we become older men."
"If we as adults can sort of tailor what we expose them to, to more of a positive light, it will allow the game of football, especially tackle football, to continue to evolve into something kids enjoy like they did 20, 30, 40 years ago,” said Colvin.
Senator Holdman and supporters of the legislation presented their proposal in front of the Education Commission, Friday afternoon.
The certification exam would cost about five dollars and would only be required for tackle football coaches, for now.