In an ongoing effort to educate high school coaches, student-athletes and parents regarding all aspects of concussions, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revised the free “Concussion in Sports” online course available on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
The “Concussion in Sports” course, which was originally launched in 2010, has been the most popular course on the Learning Center, with more than 2.2 million courses delivered in the past eight years. The free course aims to educate coaches and others on the significance of concussions, how to recognize their signs and symptoms, how to respond to a suspected concussion and the proper steps to help players return safely after recovering.
The revision to the course, which is hosted by Michael Koester, M.D., chair of the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), provides updated return-to-activity and return-to-play guidelines, including specific steps to be taken at each point of the return-to-play process.
With a new visual style that improves the user’s engagement with the course, as well as new language that makes the course easier to understand, the revised “Concussion in Sports” course offers new information on sub-concussive hits and updated resources on state return-to-play guidelines, “CDC HEADS UP” Concussion Information Sheets and updated position statements and guidelines from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
“The ‘Concussion in Sports’ course has been a tremendous resource to many people in the high school athletics community, and we believe these updates will be helpful to coaches, students and parents as they prepare for another school year in the fall,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “We are indebted to the CDC for its ongoing support and contributions, and we appreciate the efforts of Dr. Koester in hosting this important course for a second time.”
The updating of the “Concussion in Sports” course is the latest step for the NFHS the past 10 years as a leader among national sports organizations in establishing guidelines for dealing with concussions in sports. In 2008, the SMAC advocated that a concussed athlete must be removed from play and not allowed to play on the same day. For the past nine years, all NFHS rules publications have contained guidelines for the management of a student exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion. In 2014, the NFHS Concussion Task Force developed recommendations for minimizing risk of concussions and head impact exposure in high school football, and over the past three years, state associations have adopted limitations on the overall amount and frequency of full contact during practices.
In addition to the “Concussion in Sports” course, the NFHS has updated two additional courses on the Learning Center – “Heat Illness Prevention” and “Sports Nutrition.” “Heat Illness Prevention” is the second-most popular course on the Learning Center with 523,000 courses delivered, and “Sports Nutrition,” which has new information on the Female Athlete Triad in the revised version, has been taken 65,000 times. Dr. Koester also serves as the host in the updated versions of these courses on the Learning Center.
After starting with two courses in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 58 online courses – including 25 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, administrators and leaders in performing arts programs. Since the launch of www.NFHSLearn.com in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than 6.7 million courses.