As a coach, you play an important role in the lives of many young people. Healthy and positive relationships with adults benefit youth in lots of ways. Learn more about some simple things you can do to help kids succeed on and off the field or court.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Did you know that domestic and/or sexual violence can follow a kid for a lifetime? In collaboration with Step Up 4 Kids, F.A.S.T has information and resources for coaches, administrators, and parents of athletes to help with domestic and sexual violence.
As a coach, you may be legally required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Resources and free online training on recognizing signs and symptoms and how to report are provided by the Virginia Department of Social Services. To access the training, under Child Protective Services, click "CWSE 5692 - Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect."
Know how to prevent concussions, recognize symptoms and support athletes who have experienced a concussion:
- Heads Up is an online training and resource guide from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- INOVA Health System offers a free online concussion training in addition to baseline screenings and other services (Program Overview)
- Fairfax County Public Schools requires parents of high school athletes to take an online concussion education training
Healthy Sport Index
According to the Aspen Institute, high school sports participation has declined for the first time in 30 years (Aspen Institute Sport and Society, 2019). That's unfortunate, because a quality sports experience can produce myriad benefits that improves lives well into adulthood. The Aspen Institute’s Healthy Sport Index, a partnership with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), recognizes as much. You can review the Healthy Sport Index here: https://healthysportindex.com/.
Mental Health and Suicide
Coaches often have some of the best opportunities to notice the changes in behavior and personality that can be signs of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Learn to recognize these signs and what to do if you suspect a young person needs help by taking a free online At-Risk training or an eight hour Mental Health First Aid class offered by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.
The Eric Monday Foundation and the ConnerStrong Foundation are local charities committed to working with youth sports programs to reduce the stigma around mental illness and to prevent teen suicide. They each offer resources and training opportunities for sports organizations and others who work with young people.