Florida requiring prep athletes to take concussion course

Beginning this fall, Florida high school athletes will be required to complete an online course educating them about concussions.

All Florida junior varsity and varsity athletes will now be required to complete an online course educating them about concussions.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) already requires that coaches take the course, but now it wants to make sure its athletes are also knowledgeable about concussions and their effects. Courses are offered for free by the National Federation of State High School Associations, and once completed the student-athlete and a parent must sign a document verifying the course has been completed.

Student-athletes will also receive a certificate, which must be kept on file with their coach. The FHSAA plans to conduct random checks throughout the season, and if a coach can’t present all of their players’ certificates, that coach will be suspended until their team is in compliance.

The new mandate includes all sports, even non-contact activities where concussions are highly uncommon.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“The reason behind the move was student-athlete safety,” said Justin Harrison, the FHSAA’s associate executive director for athletic services. “Overall, all concerned parties felt it was imperative to continue to educate the student-athletes on concussions. … This course was yet another way to provide the information.”

According to Harrison, Florida is the first state that requires its student-athletes to be versed on concussions. The FHSAA board of directors passed the policy in June. Member schools’ coaches and athletic directors were made aware of the policy change soon after.

Coaches largely support the new mandate.

“It might be a bit of a burden but it’s also important,” one coach told the Tampa Bay Times. “We made sure we took our time and went through it to give the kids an opportunity to really learn it. We’re trying to get away from the days of being a tough guy and faking (a concussion) and trying to be a hero. The more they know the more they can deal with it honestly and communicate with us honestly.”

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