Indiana bill would require concussion training for coaches

Indiana Senate Bill 372 would require coaches, who coach teams that play on school property, to complete a yearly certified coaching education course concerning concussions.

“Personally it sounds like a reasonable piece of legislation,” Indiana state Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, said. “It requires to the Indiana state board of health (and board of education) to adopt guidelines for our student athletes.”

State law currently doesn’t require concussion training or certification for coaches.

State law requires schools to disseminate information on concussions risks each year, remove athletes from practices and games if symptoms of concussions were suspected and not return until licensed health care provider clears the athlete.

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, authored the bill. Holdman had not yet responded to a message left with his office the time of publication.

The bill was first read and referred to the Committee on Health and Provider Services Jan. 8, but hadn’t moved out of the committee as of Feb. 7.

“I’m going to ask him to put me on the bill as a co-author,” Young said. “He’s got about a week to get it out (of committee).”

The bill goes beyond publishing information on concussion safety to student-athletes and their parents. It requires all teams run by public entities or playing on public property to distribute forms with guidelines from the state department of health on concussions and for the organizing entities or teams to retain those signed forms.

The bill also requires head, assistant and volunteer coaches at schools to complete yearly sport-specific, accredited training by an independent third party starting April 1, 2014.

Carl (Joe) Gengelbach, who has coached football at North Posey High School for 43 years, said he has not heard of the new bill. Gengelbach said North Posey currently requires baseline concussion tests for all athletes each year and then the athletes are re-tested if they exhibit concussion symptoms.

“That’s not required for us now, but it’s something we’ve chosen to do as a school. In case we have an athlete receive a concussion, we have starting point.

“The existing law has come out of the NFL’s situation. I think it’s a good thing. The coaches know what to follow now. They’ve been able to test.

“As studies go on, I think they’ll do a better job with concussions.”

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