POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 31, 2013
~~<p>Even before the first shot was taken in the Outrigger Hotels Girls State Soccer Championships that opened Wednesday, there was a goal worth celebrating.<br />
Even before the first shot was taken in the Outrigger Hotels Girls State Soccer Championships that opened Wednesday, there was a goal worth celebrating. It was the first of the 31 annual Hawaii High School Athletic Association championship events in which all participating coaches — head and assistant — had passed the National Federation of State High School Associations concussion certification test. Each of the 93 coaches representing the 24 Division I and Division II teams competing at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex had been certified by the NFHS in advance of the tournament, an HHSAA spokesman said. Even with the no-pass, no-coaching mandate in place, "To tell you the truth, I am a little surprised," Chris Chun, executive director of the HHSAA, said of the unanimity. "The (school) athletic directors did a good job helping get the message to their coaches. "Whatever early hesitation or resistance there might have been to the certification process apparently gave way to wider awareness of the concussion issue and concern for the students they coach. "It is the responsibility of our coaches and administrators to not only prepare our students for victory, but to provide a safe environment as well," Chun said. While football concussions have been the mainstay of headlines, less widely known is that soccer is one of the sports where there is a high rate of concussions for high school girls. In national studies, girls soccer ranked second only to football for concussions. Locally for the 2010-11 school year, only football and girls judo had more incidents of concussions than girls soccer, the HHSAA said. In the 2011-12 school year there were 81 concussions suffered, an incidence rate of 0.48 per 1,000 exposures (practices and games), according to Ross Oshiro, the Department of Education coordinator of athletic trainers. This year the number was at 40 as of last month, the HHSAA said. Chun said Hawaii is the only state where certified trainers are required at all events. But there was a need for wider understanding of preventing concussions, recognizing them and responding appropriately so a new state law mandates the education of students, parents, coaches and school officials. In implementing it, the HHSAA is requiring coaches to complete a comprehensive "Concussion in Sports — What You Need to Know" online course put together by the Centers for Disease Control and the national federation. Then, they have to pass a test based on the session in order to be certified. The national federation notifies the HHSAA which coaches and officials have been certified. "Without (certification) they aren't on the field — or on the bench," Chun said. "They don't coach." Next up for the HHSAA are championships in paddling and then girls and boys basketball. With 30 more events to go, "this is just the beginning for us," Chun said. "But this is a great start." ——— Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4820.
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