There are hundreds, if not thousands, of amateur football sessions happening all over the country, both for adults and children. But how well equipped is the coach (or other members of the team if there is no coach) to deal with an emergency first aid situation?
Surprisingly, there are still amateur and youth football coaches which haven’t had sufficient first aid for sports training and which don’t have a football first aid kit, with the necessary instant ice pack, range of bandages, gloves, eye wash, dressings, scissors and anti-bacterial cream. Football injuries are common and can occur at any time. They include minor cuts, grazes and bruises but can be more serious, such as muscle strains, joint injuries and even cardiac arrest, as we all saw with the case of professional footballer Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the pitch last year, but who survived thanks to the quick administration of first aid.
Knowing sports first aid is therefore vitally important and can make a difference to the outcome of an injury or incident, which without the proper treatment could become long-term or even fatal. The right treatment helps to reduce the chances of re-injury and failure to have a first aid kit or know first aid can put the player’s health at risk. Even if a coach knows basic first aid from some other walk of life, such as first aid at work, this won’t necessarily prepare you to deal with the specific injuries encountered during a football game. For amateur and youth coaching sessions, the football coach is often the only official person around, so it is essential that they equip themselves with the necessary skills, knowledge and equipment to deal with a situation that could arise at any given time, especially as football is often played far away from buildings and other people.
Many football injuries are soft tissue injuries which involve swelling. The swelling creates pain, which reduces motion and muscle use. The most common method to combat swelling is known as the PRICE method, which involves Protection, Rest and Ice.
Protection involves stopping activity immediately so as to protect the injured area from any further damage. Rest is as it sounds – the area needs to be rested so that the area can heal. Finally, ice is used because cold therapy reduces the swelling and pain.
As well as the correct PRICE method, Safety First Aid Training’s courses will teach you other essential first aid knowledge, such as dealing with bleeding, CPR resuscitation, airway management, how to use a defibrillator, how to deal with choking, how to assess and treat trauma injuries such as those to the head, neck and spine, and how to recognise concussion.
Although injuries are common in football, it may be that you’ve not used your first aid skills in a while and need to take a refresher course. We would say that you can never have too much first aid training. As with any other skills, when not in use they can be forgotten.