Alabaster, Hoover among cities to promote sports safety education

Mayor Marty Handlon of Alabaster speaks on June 24 about the benefits of the the PREPARE Sports Safety Course in Homewood. Alabaster is the most recent city to partner with the National Center for Sports Safety. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Mayor Marty Handlon of Alabaster speaks on June 24 about the benefits of the the PREPARE Sports Safety Course in Homewood.  (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – The month of June has seen record-high temperatures across the state of Alabama, and as summer practices and workouts begin for fall sports, community leaders from across the state gathered at the Homewood Parks and Recreation to discuss the benefits of the PREPARE Sports Safety Course.

The PREPARE course was started in 2004 and is sponsored by the National Center for Sports Safety, a non-proft organization that has been based in Alabama since 2001. The main objective of the course is to educate coaches on what to do and what not to do in emergency situations. One of its main benefits is allowing volunteer coaches to respond appropriately in the event of an accident. At a high school football game on Friday night, the proper emergency response professionals are on scene to handle any and all emergencies, but that is not the case for parks and recreation leagues. This course helps prepare those coaches for the event of an accident or an emergency.

Mayor Gary Ivey from Hoover and Mayor Marty Handlon from Alabaster were among the many community leaders gathered who spoke out on the course.

“When you get out here on all these ball fields on Saturdays in the summer, and it’s 100 degree weather, and some of these kids are out here from nearly daylight to midnight, we need these coaches to know what they’re doing,” Ivey said during the press conference. “This year alone, we’re going to train over 900 coaches, and we think that’s pretty important.”

Alabaster is the most recent city to implement the PREPARE course and the REACH program, putting it in place for the most recent spring sports season, according to Handlon.

“Injuries are going to happen,” Handlon said. “It’s just a given. So having coaches and having staff that know what to do, it gives a whole lot of confidence. I’m really proud to be a part of this program.”

The course has educated more than 20,000 coaches nationwide, according to a press release from the National Center for Sports Safety. It covers everything from emergency recognition and first aid to injury prevention and head, neck and facial injuries, as well as many other facets of emergency response.

For more information on the PREPRE course and the REACH program, visit Info@sportssafety.org.