Indiana could soon become the first state to require high school football coaches to take part in a player safety and concussion-training course.
Senate Bill 222 – authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R–Markle – now moves to Gov. Mike Pence for approval after passing the General Assembly Wednesday.
“In high-contact sports like football, students are more vulnerable to serious injuries that can have long-term effects,” Holdman said. “But this shouldn’t keep them from playing a sport they enjoy. The training and procedures outlined in this bill will give coaches the resources and knowledge they need to keep their athletes safe.”
The bill would parallel the state of Washington’s law that requires football players to wait 24 hours before returning to the field of play after a concussion.
SB 222 also addressed liability concerns for coaches. If the coach had completed the training and went to help a player with a possible concussion, the coach would be immune from any legal repercussions if the player’s condition worsened.
Holdman said football was the only sport chosen because there is already an established coach-training program offered by USA Football.
“We went with football because of the complexity of the sport and the fact that we have a certified program in place for safety purposes,” Holdman said. “We just don’t have that in place for other sports.”
Holdman said more than 30 medical and sports organizations support the legislation, including the Amateur Athletic Union, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Football League, Big Ten Conference, Indiana Football Coaches Association and Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Paige Clark is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.