FISHERS, Ind. – A new law aimed at increasing safety for student athletes across Indiana is set to take effect July 1.
The law, authored by State Representative Ron Bacon (R-Chandler), says interscholastic and intramural coaches must complete and be tested on a course on heat preparedness. Coaches will be required to complete the certification every two years.
The law is part of a series of safety-related measures brought forth by Rep. Bacon. Previous laws included training requirements related to concussions and cardiac arrest.
The heat preparedness course is already offered by the Indiana High School Athletics Association and many coaches have already completed the training. The law will make that training a requirement.
Fishers High School tennis coach Dave Hefferen says 35 years of coaching has given him a good idea about when a player needs to come off the court to cool down. But he believes the new requirement is a good idea.
“Especially your younger coaches that think they’re being tough by making the kids work in this stuff,” Hefferen said. “And I want them to work in this stuff, but I don’t want to be calling 911.”
Hamilton Southeastern High School Assistant Baseball Coach, Kory Seitz also agrees with the training requirement. He says coaches and players need to maintain good communication in order to spot the warning signs of heat-related illness.
“If they’re not feeling right, get light headed, we’ve got plenty of water out here for them,” Seitz said. “Making sure we’re getting in the shade when we can. So try to take those breaks more often.”
Both coaches say the times have changed from the days when frequent water breaks meant a player wasn’t tough enough. These days, they say it’s more important to be smart and make safety a top priority.
“I don’t think it’s a mark of machoism anymore,” Hefferen said. “I think if you don’t take care of it, it’s more a mark of stupidity as a coach. You’d better watch what you’re doing.”
“We know that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” Seitz said. “So you need to keep the fluids coming in.”