COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — With the 2023-24 school year underway, thousands of high school athletes are preparing for new seasons, and while coaches work on plays, a new Ohio law will also require all coaches to undergo mental health training.
The idea for mandatory mental health training came from a central Ohio lacrosse coach who faced a tough conversation with one of his athletes.
The Ohio bill is the brainchild of St. Francis DeSales lacrosse coach Matt Triplet, who said he felt unprepared to tackle the conversation of mental health with a former player.
“I had a conversation with him and as I was going through it, I realized I shouldn’t be having this because I’m not trained for it,” Triplet said.
Triplet said he was confident he wasn’t alone in his feelings, so he expressed his concerns on Twitter.
“For me, it was like we need to do something to help these kids and get in front of it,” he said.
Triplet said that from there, he worked on creating a system that would allow coaches to receive training. After being connected with lobbyists and lawmakers, the provision – a first of its kind in the country – was included in the approved Ohio budget.
Triplet said that while the curriculum for the training has not yet been solidified, the Ohio Department of Mental Health will write the curriculum in tandem with psychologists.
“There are a ton of comprehensive courses that are great out there, but it’s really once the Ohio Department of Health accepts the guidelines is when everyone will be required to have that training,” he said.
Triplet said the law was written to allow coaches to complete the training when they are recertified, which typically happens every few years.
The response he has heard from other coaches has been nothing but positive.
As for the student that sparked his mission to equip coaches with these new skills, Triplet said he is doing well and is now his assistant coach.