CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Health Department is rolling out its new concussion safety awareness training courses, to help local youth sports coaches and supervisors get in compliance with a new law passed last year.
The first session was supposed to be held Monday morning at 10 a.m., but the registration numbers were too low, so the hope is more people will turn out to the next free session, Monday, June 26, at 8 p.m.
“We were hoping to get at least 50 a session,” said Kelly Asher, Community Coalition Coordinator for the Erie County Health Department, who is leading the classes. Two more free sessions will be held in the fall.
This month’s next session will be held at the Erie County Emergency Services Training Center on Broadway in Cheektowaga. Participants receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the training.
A law passed in 2016 in Erie County requires at least one coach or supervisor from each team to take a training course to learn about preventing, identifying and properly dealing with concussion-related symptoms in participants in Erie County youth contact sports leagues. Teams that fail to comply face a fine.
There’s a growing body of evidence showing the short- and long-term negative health consequences that can be tied to concussions, but experts say, right now, only about 10 percent of youth concussions are diagnosed.
“Concussions are very serious. They’re a traumatic brain injury,” Asher explained, “and if a child continues to play even with a suspected injury, it can make it worse and it could actually be fatal.”
Coaches who have already completed another approved training course do not need to retake the course to be in compliance with the law. Approved courses include the HEADS UP training offered by the CDC and training offered by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The CDC course may be taken online.
To attend the next hour-long training session from the Health Department, register here.