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First Aid, CPR certifications to hopefully become the norm for college coaches

Aug 9, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

Fred Hoiberg AP

Sadly in the history of college basketball there have been instances of players suffering cardiac arrest during either a practice or a game, and schools have attempted to take steps to ensure that they do everything possible to keep athletes safe. Some of those steps include more in-depth physical exams, and making sure there’s an automatic external defibrillator (AED) at the ready.

On Thursday it was reported by Andy Katz of ESPN.com that the NCAA has amended a rule to make sure that schools have a staff member who is certified in first aid and CPR present at any “physical countable athletic activity on campus.” A byproduct of this move is that college basketball coaches are being encouraged to get certified in both first-aid and CPR, as well as learning how to use an AED should there be a need to do so.

Of course schools will have athletic trainers and medial staff to deal with these issues but it certainly doesn’t hurt to make sure coaches also have the knowledge needed to make sure their players remain safe. And this measure is one that the coaches quoted in the story are in favor of.

“I think it’s a great rule,” said Iowa State men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, whose pacemaker, which was inserted after he had heart surgery in 2005, was replaced last month.

“It could affect the health and well-being of the student-athletes. Several sports don’t have a trainer at every practice, so this empowers the coaches in catastrophic situations. And, yes, I am certified.”

With the NCAA approving autonomy for its five most powerful conferences and the verdict of the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit being learned, it’s been a busy week in collegiate athletics. Yet when it comes to the welfare of the athletes, Thursday’s move to make sure coaches are better equipped to address a serious medical issue should not be overlooked.