Dr. Chuck Stiggins

Important Health And Safety Message From Dr. Chuck Stiggins, CSCCa Executive Director

The health and safety of the athlete has always been and continues to be the number one priority of the CSCCa. In January 2012, CSCCa representatives participated in an Inter-Association Task Force meeting, “Preventing Sudden Death in Sport by Addressing Strength and Conditioning Sessions.” From this Inter-Association Task Force, an article was developed regarding Best Practices Recommendations for Conditioning Sessions. We strongly encourage all strength and conditioning coaches to review and implement the recommendations in this article, paying special attention to the section entitled Acclimatize Progressively for Utmost Safety, which discusses safe and appropriate work to rest ratios to be utilized during transition periods in your program design and implementation “including but not limited to return in January, after spring break, return in summer, and return after an injury.”

Each year a Health and Safety presentation is offered at the CSCCa Annual National Conference. Important information regarding safe and appropriate program design and implementation is provided and all strength and conditioning professionals are strongly encouraged to attend this presentation each year. These sessions are also made available on the CSCCa website post-conference under Health And Safety for further review and reference.


Unfortunate events in the athletic community over the past several years have re-focused attention regarding the importance of colleges, universities, and professional athletic organizations employing strength and conditioning coaches who are highly trained and educated professionals doing everything possible to develop and implement safe and effective strength and conditioning programs for their athletes. Transition periods, however, continue to be a concern. The CSCCa recently received an official message from the NCAA Sport Science Institute regarding exertional rhabdomyolysis, which was immediately forwarded by email to the entire CSCCa membership on Thursday, February 1.

As strength and conditioning coaches, it is imperative that you are aware of this important information and that your strength and conditioning programs follow these guidelines to protect the health and safety of the student athlete. Exertional rhabdomyolysis continues to be a concern at colleges and universities, and strength and conditioning coaches must do everything possible to protect the health and safety of their student athletes through SAFE program design, implementation, and monitoring.

Ron Courson, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Georgia, gave an extremely professional, informative, and practical presentation at the 2017 CSCCa National Conference last May, which provided an overview of rhabdomyolysis, as well as prevention strategies. A video of his presentation is posted to the CSCCa website, and you are strongly encouraged to review it. It is important to discuss this information with your sport coaches and athletic training staff. You are also encouraged to educate the student athletes themselves regarding the dangers, causes, and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis to help them self-monitor in addition to the precautions taken by the strength and conditioning and athletic training staffs. Protecting the health and safety of the student athlete is everyone’s responsibility and requires vigilance and diligence from all sectors of the athletic community. We thank you for your continued attention to this important matter.

The CSCCa’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) Certification Program is accredited by the premier accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the credentialing body for the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE). More information regarding the value of the NCCA accreditation, as well as the SCCC Certification process, can be found here.

An important safeguard includes ensuring that ALL practicing collegiate strength and conditioning coaches hold an NCCA accredited, comprehensive, strength and conditioning-specific certification, preferably the SCCC certification. This is the best way for institutions to protect the health and safety of their athletes during strength and conditioning activities.

In addition, it is the position of the CSCCa that all colleges and universities should review their athletic policies to ensure that a minimum of one full-time strength and conditioning coaching position is in place at their institution and that all full-time strength and conditioning positions are being filled with individuals who hold a NCCA-accredited, comprehensive, strength and conditioning-specific certification. Our athletes deserve nothing less.

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