K-State Sports Extra: Coaches Go to School

by Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - It's a training classroom course that each and every K-State coach and staff member hopes will never have to be put into use. But if needed, the Wildcat coaches are now prepared after completing the Basic Life Support For Healthcare Provider Course.

"Number one, you never know when the opportunity is going to arise to help save someone," said K-State football coach Bill Snyder, who joined his staff Monday morning at the Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan to take the course. "On the athletic field we have trainers who are far more productive in a life-saving situation, but equally important is that in everyday life you could run into a life-saving situation with a family member or a friend."

The two-hour course has been hosted by the Mercy Regional Health Center and covered material for adults and children when it comes to CPR, rescue scenarios, Automated External Defibrillator use and foreign-body airway obstruction.

"Not only do we want coaches to be prepared for an incident involving one of their athletes, but with the majority of the coaches providing camps, we want the safest possible environment for young children," said Kristin Cottman, community education specialist for the Mercy Health Center, which is one of eight teaching sites in the region.

On the importance of knowing how to care for a child-type emergency in a camp setting, Snyder said, "While we have trainers everywhere, and all the equipment necessary to service our camps, it's also good to have the entire staff with a solid understanding on how to care for a young person who is in trouble. A lot of time something can be done better by two people as opposed to just one. Our coaches now have the capacity to help our trainers if there is such a need."

Athletics director John Currie initiated the plan of not only educating his coaching and department staff, but in addition, he said, "We made a decision when I first got here to invest in a number of new AED's so we could have them in all of our facilities such as Bramlage Coliseum and the indoor football facility, plus we purchased enough portable units so all of our teams can always travel with a unit."

With the Wildcat basketball staff taking its turn Tuesday afternoon, coaches learned from a "Practice While Watch" format where they watched the steps of CPR on TV screens while practicing with manikins.

Or in Cottman's words, "Our certified instructors are able to offer feedback and coaching while the students are practicing."

Shawna Jordan, a K-State research assistant professor in Human Nutrition, along with John Dicicco and Chad Perkins have served as instructors for 22 courses since last fall certifying 212 KSU staff participants for a two-year period. Every two years coaches will be asked to recertify through a review course.

"The coaches have been very receptive and have had a great attitude about learning more about CPR," Cottman said.