You are here

Competitive safeguards finalizes Division II strength and conditioning coach proposal

CSMAS also addresses nutritional supplements, cardiac care and mental health best practices

After nearly two years of debate, the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports finalized its legislative proposal that addresses the certification of strength and conditioning coaches in Division II. A working group deliberated over the past year to craft the recommendation, which is focused on student-athlete safety but provides flexibility to institutions that can’t afford to employ a full-time strength coach.

The proposal would require certification for anyone a Division II school designates as a strength and conditioning coach. If the institution does not designate a strength and conditioning coach, anyone who conducts strength and conditioning workouts outside of practices would be required to receive certification.

The Division II Legislation Committee voted to support the proposal during its June meeting. The working group that developed the concepts will now review the feedback from the Competitive Safeguards Committee and the Legislation Committee and recommend the proposal to the Division II Management Council. The council will weigh the recommendation at its summer meeting. 

“The working group came up with the recommendation, which our committee believes protects the health and safety of the student-athlete and allows Division II institutions to develop a model that fits best with their resource allocation,” said Brant Berkstresser, committee chair and head athletic trainer at Harvard University.

Cardiac care guidelines

The committee voted to support a current initiative to finalize and disseminate new inter-association consensus guidelines for the cardiac care of college athletes. The guidelines were developed by a cardiac task force that convened last September in Indianapolis and was comprised of leaders in the field. Their goal has been to develop a unified approach for cardiac care for student-athletes.

The guidelines call for:

  • A comprehensive pre-participation evaluation to identify conditions that may put an athlete at unreasonable risk of death or catastrophic injury.
  • The compilation of a comprehensive personal and family history examination.
  • When feasible, for schools to conduct cardiac screenings on campus to maintain consistent care.
  • Adhering to best practices outlined in the consensus guidelines for schools using electrocardiogram screenings.

Mental health best practices

Similarly, the committee voted in support of a best-practices document pertinent to mental health. The guidelines, still being finalized, are meant to be an aid for NCAA institutions as they address the issue of student-athlete mental well-being.

In broad strokes, the best practices are:

  • To ensure that the mental health care received by student-athletes is provided by a licensed mental health practitioner.
  • To ensure that athletic departments have clarified their procedures for referring athletes with potential mental health concerns to appropriate personnel.
  • To encourage implementation of mental health screening as part of annual pre-participation exams.
  • And to create an athletics and campus environment that supports mental well-being.

Nutritional supplements working group formed

Given that the nutritional and dietary supplement industry has expanded rapidly over the past decade, and NCAA rules pertaining to the provision of meals and snacks were recently deregulated, the committee voted to create a working group to examine existing rules for supplementation, which have remained largely unchanged in recent years. One NCAA rule, for instance, doesn’t allow schools to provide supplements in which protein accounts for more than 30 percent of their calories. With the changing supplement landscape, the committee questioned whether those types of regulations should be reexamined.

“The working group’s goal is to continue to address the current restrictions on the provision of supplement products as it pertains to protein ingredients and other nutritional supplements to ensure that all student-athletes are able to meet their nutritional needs,” Berkstresser said. 

Karr named new CSMAS chair

The committee elected a new chair as well as new subcommittee chairs.

Forrest Karr, director of athletics at Northern Michigan University, was elected committee chair. Robert Casmus, head athletic trainer at Catawba College, will serve as chair of the Sport Science Safety Subcommittee. Casmus and Karr’s terms will begin in September. Dr. Roger Kruse, head team physician at the University of Toledo, was elected chair of the Drug Education and Drug Testing Subcommittee and will begin his term in January 2016.