First Aid at ESFA football grounds is not a prominent feature. If a player has an accident or suffers from acute illness at a field, at most grounds we don’t have plans for dealing with the issue.
Tragedy is not unprecedented on ESFA fields or elsewhere in football; each year Pagewood Botany FC and Waverley Old Boys come together in a memorial day to compete for the Dimos Shield, which is in memory of Dimos Mastoris, who went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived in a match at Jellicoe Park in 2005.
Across Football NSW there were a number of deaths last year, particularly in older men’s age groups, some of which might have been prevented had there been first aid available and access to a defibrillator.
Please read is a presentation from ALSCO, a company that (among its many businesses) offers Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for purchase for football clubs, councils, and others, along with items like first aid kits.
Related to this is planning for emergencies, including the provision of other first aid. Not every problem can be solved by a defibrillator, but in the event of accident or illness there must be a plan for addressing the situation.
Having people present who are trained to administer first aid is an obvious step.
There are two types of first aid courses typically available that are relevant to community football:
· ‘Apply First Aid Course’ (formerly known as ‘Senior First Aid’) covers a broad range of topics that will enable the participants to confidently manage emergency situations and provide care for the ill or injured until medical assistance arrives. Costs range by provider from $130 to $205. We recommends St John Ambulance and Australian Red Cross.
· ‘Football First Responder Course’ is an introduction to first aid principles and provide basic skills to:
o Initially care for an injured player;
o Know when to refer the player for medical attention; and
o Determine when to call for an ambulance.
The course costs $25 per person and if 20 or more participants join a course, the host receives a first aid kit valued at $185.
This course will not equip people to perform CPR or undertake other forms of more advanced first aid.
More information here.
Clubs should also consider making available first aid kits at their grounds. Sports Medicine Australia provides information on what goes in first aid kits and what to use it for, and Football NSW provides links to first aid kits that are available for purchase from St John and Red Cross.
Without clubs having people who are trained to respond with appropriate first aid, even if we provide defibrillators we are only addressing a narrow range of potential risks to our players.
Without having a wider emergency plan, even if we have equipment and expertise available at grounds, we still run the risk of failing to put those resources to work in case of emergency.
Football NSW’s Club Resources page has a great array of useful information to help your clubs to keep our players and officials safe. Click here.
More generally, clubs ought to have emergency plans that outline:
· Who is in charge in case of an emergency
· What resources are available – both in terms of equipment and expertise
· Map of the area – where people can find first aid kits, AEDs, first responders, emergency access gates, etc.
· How the club will educate members about the emergency plan
Sports Medicine Australia’s Smartplay program has a very useful kit for making your emergency plan. For more information on how to manage various situations as well as general sport safety, check out www.smartplay.com.au.
Our game is fun and inclusive. It’s up to us to ensure that it is always safe as well.
Stay prepared and safe on the parks.