Assemblyman Stirpe Passes Bill to Ensure People with Disabilities Can Coach High School Sports Teams

Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-Cicero) announced that legislation he sponsored to allow coaches who can’t be CPR-certified due to a disability to coach high school sports has passed the Assembly (A.9534-A).

“While it’s important to ensure high school coaches can provide assistance during a medical emergency, these regulations should not prevent eminently qualified individuals from coaching our kids,” said Stirpe. “Many individuals cannot receive a CPR certification due to a disability and it’s patently unfair to bar folks from inspiring and coaching the next generation of leaders.”

Assemblyman Stirpe’s bill would allow a coach who is unable to hold a valid first aid certificate due to a disability to coach if there is another staff member who is certified in CPR and attends all practices, scrimmages and competitions. In addition to helping ensure equal access to coaching positions, this legislation will also benefit the Fabius-Pompey School District. For more than 20 years, Josh Virgil has served in several assistant coaching positions, including for the varsity baseball team, boys’ varsity soccer team and boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams. As a result of a car accident that rendered him paralyzed from the chest down, Josh Virgil is not able to physically meet the NYS requirements for obtaining the position of head coach of a High School sports team. He’s beloved by the local community and has always dreamed of becoming the head coach, noted Stirpe.

“It didn’t take long to figure out what I couldn’t help with physically, I could help with the mental aspect of the game,” said Virgil. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I teach my kids to make life much better for themselves and that nothing is impossible. This doesn’t just affect me but teams across my state and coaches that are willing and able to do this job so they can move forward with their lives. The affects for families, the kids we coach, it’s immense and a win for everyone!”

The bill is one step closer to become law as the Assembly recently passed Assemblyman Stirpe’s bill and it’s expected to be voted on in the New York State Senate Committee on Education this week.

“Coach Virgil is an outstanding leader and mentor, and he deserves the opportunity to use his decades of experience to serve as a head coach,” said Stirpe. “As a legislative body, we must work to help move our state forward and that includes expanding the rights of those who are disabled and without a doubt contribute immensely to our communities.”