The CoachSafely Foundation and the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association have formed a partnership aimed at ensuring coaches are trained and prepared to take an active role in preventing and addressing sports injuries.
“We employ thousands of people throughout the state of Alabama in the parks and recreation field,” said Kay McCrary, director of Parks and Recreation and Special Events for the city of Montgomery, speaking as a member of ARPA. “We have thousands of volunteer coaches who are working with hundreds of thousands of young people and it just makes sense that they’re trained to do the best they possibly can do for the safety of the young people who are playing numerous sports in the recreation departments.”
Kevin Scarbinsky, director of communications for CoachSafely, said Alabama law requires coaches to take an annual training course aimed at recognizing and preventing injuries.
“There are kids 14 and under playing football, basketball, softball, soccer, you name it, they’re out on the fields and court of this state,” he said. “They’re hopefully getting positive examples from their coaches and setting habits that will help them become active and healthy adults for the rest of their life.”
Dr. James Andrews, renowned sports surgeon and founder of Andrew Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, said it’s a growing need that he has advocated for two decades.
“The thing that worries me is we’ve taken the fun out of sports in the youth sports to some degree,” Andrews said. “There’s so much pressure on these young kids by parents, by coaches, peer pressure that is just not fair to them. So, somebody’s got to look out for them. That’s why I’ve been so passionate about this since year 2000 when I first started seeing the escalation of injuries in our youth sports. By the way, we’ve seen at least a 10-fold increase in youth sports injuries since year 2000 across all 29 youth sports. You name one, there’s an increase.”
The CoachSafely Foundation’s goal is to provide the CoachSafely injury recognition and prevention course to Alabama’s youth sports coaches at no cost to the volunteer coach. The foundation solicits charitable and public funds on behalf of cities and schools that administer youth sports on their property. Alabama Power is among several public utilities, corporations and individuals that support the foundation.