FARGO, N.D. -

Are your high school athletes safe if an emergency happens during practice?
 
We spoke with professors who studied area high school coaches.
 
What happens when high school athletes have a medical emergency during practice?

Athletic trainers are usually the ones to handle this, but during practice, they might not be around.

That's when coaches step in.
 
"Every fall, you hear stories of some high school athlete going down on the practice field and dying. And so parents trust their athletes to the coaches," says NDSU professor Brad Strand, the man who led the study.
 
Professors at NDSU and MSUM surveyed high school coaches in North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana.

They say their findings were satisfactory, showing 70% of high school coaches in the area are knowledgeable and confident in the required first aid training.
 
"We've been CPR certified, we've been first aid certified, and then we've also been AED certified," says Fargo North track coach Aaron Walker.
 
"And then also basic first aid things like covering wounds, wearing gloves, that kind of stuff," says NDSU athletic trainer and assistant professor Shannon David Misialek.
 
Previous data shows this has been a problem.
 
"Our study is pretty contradictory to that, we were surprisingly happy to know that our coaches are doing what they need to be doing,"Misialek says.
 
They also want to make sure coaches stay within their scope of practice, meaning they don't give treatment in ways that only athletic trainers are certified in giving.
 
"They are more focused on musculoskeletal, so evaluating and diagnosing injuries, coming up with a treatment plan. For coaches, oftentimes they get some special knowledge in taping but really that's meant for athletic trainers," Misialek says.
 
The professors say they're happy our local coaches are meeting the increasing demand for first aid response on the field.