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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date: July 11, 2019 


CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer


Phone: (716) 858-4941   



Erie County Department of Health reminds coaches
of concussion training course requirements

ERIE COUNTY, NY— National Youth Sports Week begins on July 15, and this marks an opportunity to remind coaches, athletic directors, referees, officials and sports volunteers about concussion training course requirements in Erie County.


Youth sports and exercise are part of a healthy lifestyle for children and families. Playing sports – especially contact or collision sports - is cited as one of the leading causes of concussions seen in emergency departments.


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is usually caused by a trauma – even mild trauma - to the head. Symptoms of a concussion can include difficulty concentrating or remembering recent events, headaches or sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights, changes in mood and sleeping more or less than usual. A concussion or a series of concussions over time can lead to lifelong complications and even death.


“Encouraging physical activity and sportsmanship is important but keeping your child safe while they compete should also be a priority,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We want to remind coaches, officials, physical education teachers and parents what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of concussion for children and teenagers, and to learn how to recognize and respond to concussions or other serious brain injuries at practice and during games.” 


Concussions and other injuries in sports happen as a result of a number of factors, including improper technique, ill-fitting equipment, too much time in play or, sometimes, just the bad luck of a play. Ensuring proper technique is being taught, that equipment fits properly and that a child is not over played are some things that coaches can do to reduce the chances of injury while playing sports.


“Coaches and parents can reduce the severity of an injury by watching for signs of injury and pulling a child from play immediately if an injury is suspected,” explained Dr. Burstein. “A child or teenager should always be reassured that it is a good idea for them to sit out if they are hurt. There is always another game, but a sports injury could have a life-long negative impact on a child’s health.”


Adults who supervise minor children who play organized contact or collision sports are required under a local law in Erie County to take a course in concussion safety.


Some sports leagues and associations may provide concussion training courses to their coaches. For those who do not have access to training through their organization, the Erie County Department of Health recommends a free concussion safety course through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called HEADS UP to Youth Sports, which is available online for coaches, parents and volunteers. Successful completion of this course satisfies the concussion training requirements for coaches in Erie County.




CDC Heads Up Online Training:


American Academy of Pediatrics, Concussions:


Erie County Concussion Law  Link:


If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Asher at (716) 858-7685 or