MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An Alabama lawmaker hopes to improve safety in youth sports by requiring training for coaches. Rep. Jack Williams' bill would require a one-hour training course.
An estimated 44 million kids countrywide participate in youth sports. The course would focus on raining coaches to identify and deal with things like traumatic injuries, concussions and conditioning.
"What we want to do is make sure everyone engaged in youth sports has proper training and knows how to do this in the safest way possible," Williams said.
Rick McBride, who helps with the Montgomery YMCA and is the commissioner of a local baseball league, said he has taken similar type training before.
"I think the kind of training I've received has been invaluable because my knowledge was quite limited before that time," McBride explained. He said it is important for youth coaches to know what they are doing, especially with who they are teaching.
"I think when it comes to the youth level, it's arguably the most important coaching level there is," McBride added.
McBride said he learned through training how difficult it can be to spot something like a concussion, especially in young children. He said training like the type which will happen under the proposal could make a difference.
"You want to identify an injury and stop it in its tracks so it doesn't compound and get worse," McBride said.
The same bill did not pass through the legislature last year. The bill's failure was mainly because it ran out of time, but some opponents expressed concern the extra teaching could hurt the number of coaches volunteering.
"I cannot imagine any coach who is out there for the right reasons would actually not be willing to obtain some additional training to make sure the children he is responsible for are better taken care of from a physical standpoint," McBride expressed.
"The folks who oppose this, we are one devastating injury in their community from them realizing how important it is," Williams said.
The bill must pass both the Alabama House and Senate before going to the governor's desk.