In age of concussion awareness, it's difficult to determine if football coaches are getting training

In age of concussion awareness, it's difficult to determine if football coaches are getting training

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii high school football averages about 350 concussions a year.

State law mandates football coaches at all Hawaii high schools be certified annually to spot concussions and manage an injured student's recovery. Hawaii has 45 high school football teams and about 450 football coaches.

And Hawaii Concussion Awareness Management Program trains and certifies coaches in concussion protocols.

But Nathan Murata said attendance at HCAMP's annual face-to-face workshops is inconsistent.

"We don't have the exact data on it, but I believe, from what I've heard anecdotally, the numbers are certainly a lot smaller than it was many years ago," he said.

Another organization, USA Football, had only five coaches at its recent clinic on Oahu.

That's not to say coaches aren't getting certified through other groups or through online courses. But it's difficult to pin down exactly how many coaches are certified currently because it's left up to the schools to track.

Some speculate that if all football coaches are trained and currently certified then dangerous football drills like one held by Castle High School coaches last month would never have happened.

In that exercise, coaches had players line up 20 yards apart, sprint at each other, and collide at full speed.

"It's in the coaches and league's best interest. if the coaches aren't doing the requirements, they're not being protected by the insurance coverage that we get for them throughout the season," HHSAA executive director Chris Chun said.

Coaches who do get annual certification said the training is vital for all coaches.

"You go to any clinics nowadays, the first thing they talk about is concussions. Everything they talk about is head trauma," Aiea High School head coach Wendell Say said.

Added Radford High School head coach Lon Passos: "It's not only my job as a head coach to recognize any symptom, just in case the other coaches see it then they can let us know or the trainer's know."

State law also stipulates coaches of athletes 11 years old and older must be concussion certified. That covers all sports. And the mandate also extends to a school's faculty and staff, anyone who monitors a student-athlete with a concussion.

That raises the total number of people who should have a current concussion certification into the thousands.

"I believe there is a gap. We're not reaching everybody, and we would like to," HCAMP trainer Troy Furutani said.

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