The premise is simple and speaks directly to parents. You wouldn’t drop off your child at a swimming pool without a lifeguard. Yet every day, you take your kids to practice. Dizzy Dean baseball. Pop Warner football. Community park basketball. You name it, your kids are playing it.

Their coaches typically are other parents volunteering with the best of intentions. But do those coaches know what they’re doing?

More and more in the state of Alabama, the answer is “yes” thanks to the nonprofit CoachSafely Foundation, whose name is its mission, according to founder and chairman Jack Crowe.

“We want to make Alabama the safest sports state in the country,” Crowe said.

How? By training the coaches of young athletes.

In 2018, Alabama became the first state to pass a law requiring youth coaches of children aged 14 and under to complete a comprehensive training course in injury prevention, recognition and response.

The CoachSafely Foundation helped author and lobby for that bill, tapping medical professionals to develop the evidence-based and peer-reviewed training course, which covers everything from concussions to heat-related illnesses to overuse injuries and has been approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The foundation’s advisory board includes the team doctors at Alabama, Auburn and UAB, and its medical director is well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Crowe recruited a powerful team to form the CoachSafely Foundation, which he said is “dedicated to keeping kids active, healthy and safe through youth sports,” with ongoing research and continuing education for coaches.

“We want to keep our kids on the field and court, out of the emergency room and in the classroom,” Crowe said.

UAB football coach Bill Clark is the foundation’s vice president. Alabama football coach Nick Saban will appear in a PSA scheduled to run on TV stations across the state in 2020 to raise awareness about the Coach Safely Act.

Earlier this year, the CoachSafely Foundation entered into a joint venture with the Alabama Recreation and Parks Foundation to deliver the training course to youth coaches through the membership of the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association.

Through September, the ARPA/CoachSafely Initiative had delivered the training course to more than 15,000 youth coaches in more than 200 communities throughout the state — at no cost to those coaches.

“Our concern is putting our kids in the safest environment we possibly can,” said ARPA Executive Director Natalie Norman.

Other states have noticed. Legislation similar to Alabama’s Coach Safely Act was introduced in Georgia this year, and officials in other jurisdictions have inquired about doing the same.

In the last year, CoachSafely was named one of 20 national Project Play Champions by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program and was chosen as one of five finalists for the STRIVE Award as Organization of the Year by the National Council of Youth Sports.

Wayne Moss, executive director of the National Council of Youth Sports, said he “was blown away” when he learned of CoachSafely.

“Something miraculous has happened here,” Moss said. “There will be a day that we look back and we’ll see that youth sports safety training, which is required by law, started in Alabama.”