The United States Sports Academy is providing concussion awareness training to youth, middle school and high school football coaches in South Alabama and Northwest Florida.

With help from an Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) grant and King-Devick, the Academy has made presentations to more than 50 coaches about concussions and given training on how to use the King-Devick test to quickly and accurately determine on the sideline if any player has suffered head trauma. In addition, each coach and team received a comprehensive manuals about concussion safety, fact sheets, and King-Devick Playbooks that included the tests to administer on players.

Academy's Brandon Spradley (center) goes over the King-Devick concussion test, while Southern Youth Sports Association football coach Bandele Howes (left), who coaches 7- and 8-year-old boys, looks on.

Leading the effort are Dr. Arthur Ogden, chair of the Academy’s sports management program, Dr. Bill Steffen, chair of the Academy’s sports coaching program, and Brandon Spradley, an Academy doctoral teaching assistant.

“All the coaches we have met with, so far, have been very receptive to learning more about this issue,” Spradley said. “Concussions have been in the spotlight and they want to make sure they are doing every thing they can to protect our youth.”

Recently, Ogden and Spradley met with more than 30 coaches at the Southern Youth Sports Association (SYSA) at Legion Field in Pensacola, Fla. In addition to Spradley demonstrating the King-Devick concussion test, Dr. Ogden discussed tackling techniques to help players avoid concussions or injury.

Lumon May, who runs the Pensacola youth league that has coached current NFL players at SYSA such as Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, said the training was informative.

“We are very grateful that the United States Sports Academy would come out here and teach us about concussions and how to identify them,” May said. “For us safety comes first, even before winning.”

Besides the Pensacola coaches, so far, the Academy has also met with athletic directors, athletic trainers and coaches at Clark-Shaw Magnet School, Phillips Preparatory Middle School, Mobile County Training School, LeFlore Magnet High School and B.C. Rain High School, which are all in Mobile, Ala.

Clark-Shaw’s Frank Yates, who is a physical education teacher and head coach for the football team, said he was very interested in gaining more knowledge about concussions.

“Now, I hope I don’t have to use it,” he said.

The Academy has a year to fulfill the AASP grant and plans to meet with even more schools and youth leagues in various sports.