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Educating Coaches

“Toughen up!” “Walk it off!” How many times have you heard these phrases from coaches on the sidelines of children’s sporting events?

While coaches want to encourage young athletes to be strong and resilient, there are times when an injury may warrant more than the usual five minute break on the bench.

Nancy Mann, LMSW, Coordinator of the Community Training Center at Winthrop-University Hospital, has been teaching CPR to healthcare professionals and the community for many years now, but recently created a special program to educate the dedicated volunteers who coach community athletic programs in life saving skills.


Nancy Mann, LMSW, Coordinator of the Community Training Center at the Winthrop Wellness Pavilion, (center) teaches CPR to coaches of community athletics programs.
In collaboration with the Garden City Athletic Association, Ms. Mann launched a three-hour program through which coaches of children’s sports can become familiar with the signs of traumatic chest and heart injuries, orthopaedic injuries, concussions and asthma – and are trained in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heartsaver® CPR and automatic external defibrillator (AED) course.

Instrumental to the program’s success has been the support of the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation, whose generous donation helped launch the program, and support from Island Cardiac Specialists in Garden City, underwriters of the program.

Tom Luzzi, RN, Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department at Winthrop, is the lead instructor for the AHA Heartsaver CPR and AED course. Mr. Luzzi and other AHA-certified instructors at Winthrop’s Community Training Center teach CPR to the classes using the AHA’s CPR Anytime Kits, which are purchased through a grant from Island Cardiac Specialists. Each participant gets to keep his or her kit for subsequent use for practice or for teaching other members of their family.

In addition to learning CPR in the Community Coaches Education Program, participants hear from:

Nicholas Raio, MD, cardiologist with Island Cardiac Specialists, who discusses Commotio Cordis – a syndrome that results from a blunt impact to the chest which leads to cardiac arrest and other cardiac issues in young athletes;

John T. Gaffney, DO, Assistant Chief, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Winthrop, who speaks about orthopedic injuries in youth sports;

Winthrop’s innovative Community Coaches Education Program has formed the basis of an oral presentation at the National Conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Washington, D.C. by Dr. Cataletto in October 2009, and two important articles authored by Dr. Cataletto, Ms. Mann and their collaborators at the Asthma Coalition of Long Island. “Asthma Preparedness on the Field” appeared in the fall edition of the AAP’s Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness Program publication, and “Sports Shorts: Asthma and the School Aged Athlete,” was published as part of a quarterly AAP Sports Medicine Series for physicians, coaches and parents.
Judy Jax, RN, BSN, CEN, Winthrop’s Trauma Coordinator, who discusses head injuries and helps coaches become more attuned to the signs of a possible concussion; and

Mary Cataletto, MD, Associate Director, Pediatric Pulmonology at Winthrop, who discusses asthma and children’s sports. As part of the asthma portion of the program, Dr. Cataletto provides coaches with adhesive fact sheets for their clipboards, which are donated by the Asthma Coalition of Long Island – part of the American Lung Association of NY, which is supported by the NYS Department of Health.

“With community education as our focus, we realized that we could increase the safety of young people in sports by increasing the knowledge base of their athletic coaches,” said Ms. Mann. “The feedback we have received has been tremendous – coaches are truly grateful for the opportunity to become better informed about medical issues that their players may face.”

To date, the program has trained more than 150 coaches from community youth sports programs from Garden City and beyond.

“Winthrop’s Community Coaches Education Program is a homerun!” said Al Vanasco, president of the Garden City Athletic Association. “The program has been great for the community, and is enabling coaches of all sports to become better educated about important medical issues that young athletes may face on the field. Winthrop has been phenomenal and without their support, we wouldn’t be able to put these programs together.”

For additional information about Community Coaches Education at Winthrop, please call (516) 663- 4455.
Vol. 20, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2010

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