SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thursday marks the first night of high school football in the Coastal Empire, and head coaches in Georgia are implementing some rule changes.
New Hampstead and Jenkins High football players will take the field at Memorial Stadium, and they’ll be safer than in years past.
Back in April, the Georgia High School Association approved a rule change requiring all coaches to go through CPR and AED training before the start of fall sports.
An AED, or automatic external defibrillator, is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, can help save a life during a cardiac or breathing emergency.
After the initial training, coaches will need to get re-certified every two years. If they don’t, they will be fined by the GHSA.
Recently, more than 50 high school and middle school coaches from the area came together for a clinic at Georgia Southern, covering sports medicine topics. There, several coaches and trainers went through a certification process. The purpose of the process was to give coaches the ability to save a life if the situation ever arises.
“Why not help them become a better coach, and knowing what to do in case of an emergency? Then sometimes, those high school athletic trainers are out there on their own, and so, if there’s a more than a one-person causality, how are they going to get to two people in time," questioned Brandy Clouse, Georgia Southern, Head Athletic Director.
“It seems like more and more kids are falling out with some type of medical, heart issue that general physicals don’t bring out until it’s too late and a kid falls out on the field, so I think it’s wonderful, and we all need to be trained on how to do it because you just never know," said Chuck Sanders, Athletic Director and Football Coach, Jenkins County.
The South Carolina High School League has the same rule in place for coaches.