A sports coach is perpetually moments away from responding to emergency.
Whether out on the soccer pitch or inside the gymnasium, student athletes could at any time call out for assistance due to injury or other health concerns.
“You’re always just a play away from a kid going down,” said Steve Waters, athletic director for Glynn County Schools. “And we want to be able to somehow keep the kid moving and going until the ambulance can get there or our trainers can get there, if they’re not on scene.”
To support a culture of safety in the school system, Georgia Power recently donated $3,500 to the athletic department so that all coaches can become CPR certified.
A check presentation was made Friday at Brunswick High School, just before 19 more coaches underwent the certification process.
“We have over 100 coaches being trained all under this cost, with no additional cost to the school system,” said Paulo Albuquerque, area manager for Georgia Power.
Athletics are vital programs in the school system, Albuquerque said, and promote overall student success.
“We know that sports have kept kids more focused in the school system,” he said. “It’s about health, and it’s about getting them active. But ultimately, for us, it’s about safety.”
The certification training costs about $40, Waters said, and has to be undergone every two years.
“Over the last couple of years it’s gotten more expensive for coaches to get certification,” he said. “And we were looking for a way to provide the certification without having to make our coaches come out of pocket.”
The certification isn’t required, Waters said, but he feels that all coaches need to have it.
“You hear of kids going down all the time with a heart defect or a heat stroke or something, so I’m thankful to have this and be able to tell other school districts that all of our coaches are certified,” he said.
Albuquerque commended the school system’s leadership for being proactive regarding student safety.
“The leadership of the school system is looking for innovative ways to continue to develop, protect and work with our kids and the families, and I’m just very appreciative of the leadership that’s in place right now,” he said.
Supporting local schools is an investment in the future, Albuquerque said.
“You’re setting them up for success for life,” he said. “That’s our workforce of tomorrow.”
This sort of support from the community is how the athletic department makes ends meet, Waters said.
“We don’t get tax dollars, so we rely on community support and corporate donations to do things like this,” he said. “I think it’s part of the success of our athletic programs overall. It’s a lot more than just winning or losing games on Friday nights.”