CoachSafely FoundationWith the 2023 fall sports season kicking off very soon, parents, guardians, coaches are likely thinking about the health risks their youth sports athletes may encounter during the season.

UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine and the CoachSafely Foundation are preparing coaches around the state and the Southeast to help prepare for and prevent youth sports injuries, particularly regarding head injuries and other long-term concerns.

Former college football coach Jack Crowe founded The CoachSafely Foundation, a non-profit organization, in 2013.

The mission of the CoachSafely Foundation is to “limit youth sports-related injuries through research, advocacy and education of coaches, parents, physical educators and other influential figures in youth athletes’ lives.” UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine has partnered with Coach Safely on training courses for youth coaches regarding injury prevention.

The concept, crafted over a four-year period, evolved from a consultancy into a policy-based organization, lobbying for a mandate that coaches of child athletes (ages 14 and under) be educated in youth sports injury prevention. The foundation has led efforts to pass the CoachSafely Act in Alabama in 2018, mandating health and safety education for youth sports 14 and under for all coaches, and in Arkansas in May.

“We were very fortunate to pass the CoachSafely Act in 2018, signed by Governor Kay Ivey,” says CoachSafely Foundation President, Drew Ferguson.

“Most community members don’t know how to recognize a heat stroke, concussion or sudden cardiac arrest that requires immediate medical attention. It’s a public health crisis.”

CoachSafely’s course for youth coaches takes roughly 90 minutes to complete, giving participants the opportunity to work at their own pace. The course is a 11-module comprehensive curriculum, covering topics of emergency action plans, growth and development, acute traumatic injuries, concussion protocol, heat and hydration, youth mental health, etc.

“It is important for coaches to be knowledgeable in these topics to help mitigate all possible injuries. Statistics show over 50% of injuries and deaths in youth sports were preventable in terms of health and safety,” says Ferguson.

The foundation is currently working with the Department of Public Health, on a national level, to make this course available to all youth coaches in the country. A new Coaches Registry is also in the works, giving parents and guardians the ability to see if their child’s coach is certified by the CoachSafely-mandated injury prevention protocol.

Over its 10-year history, the program has certified over 30,000 youth coaches.

You can find the CoachSafely Foundation Training Course and more information at