Let’s talk about a Coach’s role in sports safety. Coaches support their athletes in much more than skill development, supervision and sportsmanship. With youth sports injuries at a record-breaking high, Coaches must work alongside team Athletic Trainers (ATs) to carry out the essential practice of reporting via documentation and data collection. Coaches leading alongside ATs in the sports safety ecosystem decrease the overall burden on ATs, and athletes reap the benefits.
What’s the Reporting Dilemma?
Lack of coach reporting through insufficient documentation and data collection is still prevalent in the sports world and unfortunately can critically impact athletes. When we don’t report injuries, it can overburden ATs, resulting in more athlete injuries, which increases liability for the organization and accrues higher costs to parents. The good news is, it’s an avoidable cycle that coaches can help break! While all coaches may not have the background knowledge to recognize specific injuries, documentation ensures that coaches DO have the complete picture of an athlete’s health to provide proper support after an injury.
Coach reporting is a technique that uses data analysis to provide Coaches with insights into their individual athlete’s wellness and the overall team's performance. You might be asking yourself, is this method of reporting even feasible? The answer is yes! But underreporting remains an issue. With mandated and standardized injury reporting and risk management processes, coaches can directly prioritize athlete safety and liability.
What Can We Do Now?
So, how can you report? Coaches and ATs should focus on feasible, realistic and goal-driven strategies when beginning documentation and data collection and considering how to report. With that, organizations must have guidelines on when to report. A best practice is to address injury reporting as a care ecosystem and create standardized sports safety protocols. Ultimately, aim to make documentation and data collection a common practice!
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