By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, the Senate Health Committee gave a favorable report to House Bill 9, which is designed to improve the safety of youth sports.
The bill’s sponsor state Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, said that the number of children participating in youth sports have declined. Meanwhile, the number of injuries have increased particularly in concussions and head trauma. Just 10 years ago, youth sports did not even show up at youth head trauma centers, and now it is the number one thing they deal with.
Williams said that he favors teaching a youth sports program to youth coaches. This program is designed by Dr. James Andrews. It is designed to make sure that we practice and play the safe way. He said that he wants to take it throughout the states, especially to rural areas that do not access to reliable health care.
“Sixty percent of youth sports injuries are preventable,” Williams said.
Williams said that he believes that the program can cut down on injuries and trips to the emergency room.
HB9 would require that all youth coaches take the free training, whether it is in a classroom setting or offered online.
Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, said that there has been a reduction in the number of kids playing youth sports because kid’s parents are concerned about injuries.
Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield, said that he had some concerns about the definition of coach.
Williams responded we are trying to ensure that in those situations where the coach is away for work that someone can be selected that is not regularly involved in the activity.
The Health committee gave House Bill 9 a favorable report. The Senate Health Committee is chaired by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville.
House Bill 9 has already been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives. The bill nine can now be considered by the full state Senate.
Williams is leaving the legislature at the end of his term as he is a candidate for Jefferson County commissioner to replace retiring commissioner David Carrington.