Rep. Bacon: Preventing heatstrokes in Hoosier sports

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Friday, February 17, 2017 8:55 am

As a softball coach for 27 years and a father of children who participated in athletics, I know that safety always comes first. Sports should be fun, but in order to maintain that fun, safety must be put before anything else – including winning. To help prevent athletes in Indiana from experiencing heat exhaustion, strokes or even death, I am authoring legislation that would require all coaching staff members to complete a heat preparedness training course.

In 2015, more than 13 high school football players throughout the nation died in one season. Half of those players died from cardiac conditions or heat stroke. One of the players was from Pike High School in Indianapolis. At the age of 14, this young Hoosier died due to high temperatures and humidity. This is the very reason why I authored House Bill 1288, which would require head coaches and assistant coaches in every sport to be trained in heat preparedness.

Currently, Indiana coaches are required to be trained and tested on concussion awareness. My proposal would expand this training to include heat preparedness, so that all coaches know the signs of heat exhaustion in hopes they can prevent athletes from having a heat stroke or dying.

Signs of heat exhaustion include confusion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dark-colored urine from dehydration.

Another safety element within this legislation includes developing an emergency action plan for sporting events in Indiana schools. Each school that sponsors interscholastic or intramural sports will have to develop an emergency action plan providing step-by-step instructions for school and emergency personnel to follow at sporting events. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association provides an example of an emergency action plan and guidance for how to develop a program. According to their framework, potential costs to the school include AEDs and other emergency equipment, first aid kits and CPR/AED training for coaches.

This new law would add an additional step in keeping our athletes safe by ensuring coaches can take action while further preventing more serious injuries. Coaches who complete the required training will be protected under this law unless there is evidence of gross negligence.

As always, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9833 or by email at h75@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75,
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.