During trying times this past June, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) addressed a pressing need with the launch of its free “COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators” course through the NFHS Learning Center. (www. NFHSLearn,com) This course was one of many the NFHS made available at no charge during the national health pandemic.
June’s rollout of “COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators” by the Learning Center was accompanied by “The Collapsed Athlete.” Collectively, the two free courses address numerous vital health and safety protocols for the benefit of students.
The “COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators” course offers information for coaches and school administrators on conducting workouts, practices and contests as safely as possible amid the pandemic, according to Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services.
“While we know states – and communities within states – are in different phases concerning COVID-19, we wanted to have a resource available for the interscholastic community to assist returning to activity,” Schuster said. “This course discusses what coaches and administrators can do to limit the spread of COVID-19, including practicing hygiene and cleaning, social distancing when possible, and the importance of recording who is at each workout, practice and game to track exposure.”
“The Collapsed Athlete” is centered around developing and practicing Emergency Action Plans (EAP). Considered by Schuster to be one of the “most critically important courses” to ever be launched by the Learning Center, the course goes beyond just the importance of EAPs and assigning vital responsibilities to team members. “The Collapsed Athlete” also explores how the three H’s – heart, heat and head – factor into potentially fatal injuries and illnesses.
The development of both courses occurred in collaboration between the Learning Center and NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC). Content creation for the “The Collapsed Athlete” was led by Dr. Michael Koester and Dr. Neha Raukar, both of whom are members of SMAC.
Since the launch of these courses, more than 57,000 have been delivered, including more than 53,000 “COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators” courses. From January to July, the Learning Center has delivered more than 1.1 million courses, which is up from 864,000 during that same span in 2019.
In March, shortly after high school athletics and activities programs started to shut down, the NFHS Learning Center began offering its 11 officiating courses free of charge. As a result of the success of that decision, those courses will be offered for free indefinitely. The officials courses and the aforementioned pivotal health and safety courses are just a few of the more than 40 courses available for free through the Learning Center.
Other recent work from the learning resource includes a revision to its “First Aid, Health and Safety” course. A staple for the Learning Center, “First Aid, Health and Safety” is also an instrumental offering to the NFHS School Honor Roll program.
The NFHS School Honor Roll was announced in April and is a national recognition program designed by the NFHS to promote professional development for high school coaches through the completion of specific courses through the NFHS Learning Center. Schools can achieve three levels of merit within the NFHS School Honor Roll, which are obtained once 90 percent of a school’s coaches – excluding volunteer coaches – complete various course combinations. Participating institutions that earn Level 1, 2 or 3 distinctions receive a large display banner commemorating their accomplishments and their dedication to professional development and education-based athletics.
In the program’s four months of activity, it has recognized more than 50 schools from 11 states with Level 1 distinction. Three schools have since earned Level 2 distinction, while two schools have garnered Level 3 distinction.
“We all strive to hang banners in our schools for achievements,” said Schuster. “Earning this banner is a symbol that your school and your coaches are committed to providing a great experience for young people, and it’s something that everyone can be proud of within their communities.”
For more information on the NFHS School Honor Roll and to apply for participation in the program during the 2020-21 school year, please visit www.nfhslearn.com/home/administrators.
Cody Porter is the manager of media relations in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department.