CPR and first aid training for coaches is critical
Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance has always been a strong advocate of youth sports coaches and volunteers receiving first aid and emergency training. Injuries and medical emergencies can occur anywhere, at anytime to anyone, especially in a sporting environment. Coaches and other adults in attendance during practices and play have to be able to respond in such cases. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of youth coaches have any safety training, according to a 2012 SafeKids Worldwide survey.
There’s really no excuse for such lack of training because certification classes in first aid and CPR are offered in every community for free or very little cost. It’s the responsibility of the sports organization and local community to ensure that coaches and volunteers have access to the training needed to respond appropriately to an injury or life-threatening event.
Empowering your volunteers
In particular, the education of volunteers in safety procedures strengthens the sports program. Volunteers offer their time and energy in so many capacities. They should be given the tools they need to be an even greater help, which means safety training or recertification at no cost to them. And it’s important to remember that coaches and volunteers serve as safety role models for the youth with whom they’re working. Older athletes should be encouraged to register for CPR and first aid certification courses, as well.
No matter what sport you’re involved with, the unexpected can occur. Here are a few examples of emergency situations where immediate administration of first-aid made all the difference to the injured person.
- An Alabama high school football player collapsed during the first practice of the season. Coaches and the athletic trainer sprang into action, quickly determining a case of cardiac arrest after seeing no signs of concussion, heat stroke or dehydration. The trainer used the school’s AED while waiting for EMTs to arrive on the scene. The teen survived, thanks to the safety training his coaches had received.
- An Oregon varsity high school basketball game was unexpectedly interrupted when an official collapsed on the court. Quick thinking staff, students and medical professionals in the stands rushed to his aid, administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
- An 8-year-old youth baseball player collapsed after being hit in the chest by a batted ball. It was his good fortune that two off-duty paramedics who were in the stands were able to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.
You can’t count on there being someone nearby who will know what to do in a medical emergency. Whether the injured person is one of the athletes, a trainer, an official or a fan in the stands, the coaches are who people will look to for help in an emergency.
Getting the necessary training
The American Red Cross offers CPR/AED training as well as specific first aid, health and safety training for sports coaches. Because CPR techniques and use of AEDs on children and adults differ, it’s important that coaches receive training for medical assistance for both age groups
The National Alliance for Youth Sports encourages all volunteer coaches get CPR training. Their website offers member coaches access to a first aid and CPR section full of safety information, including how to develop an emergency action plan. NAYS also offers free concussion training for coaches and volunteers.