When you accept the role of coach, you accept a
major responsibility for the care and safety of your players. Although the athletes share
in the responsibility for their protection and safety, their ability to understand what
they can do,, how they can do it, and whether they are doing it correctly, may be limited.
It is your job to help them practice and play as safely as possible.
The information below was adapted from the ASA/VIP
Softball Safety Manual and the American Red Cross First Aid Reference Guide
(1990). It is designed to help you better care for your players; it is not meant as
a substitute for a first aid course. If you dont already have first aid
certification, we encourage you to enroll in both CPR and first aid classes to help
prepare yourself to handle accidents that may happen while you are coaching.
Your job as a volunteer coach is to recognize an
injury when it happens, to stabilize the injury as best you can, and to summon medical
assistance if necessary. You need to understand the limitations of your training and
knowledge. If you are not a trained medical professional, then it is your
responsibility to call one immediately whenever you have any doubt as to what to do next.
For those emergencies that require immediate
attention by a trained professional, call 9-1-1.
Have an Emergency Plan
It is important to have a well thought out plan for
dealing with injuries. It is best to have a written response plan for emergencies.
Keep this in your coaching bag where you can pull it out and refer to it if necessary.
Some points to consider in your plan:
· Is a first aid kit available? (suggested contents
are listed under Coach Equipment)
· Do I have all of my players medical consent
forms and emergency contacts with me at all times?
· Where is the nearest phone?
· How do I get first aid and paramedics/ambulance?
· Do any of my assistant coaches or parent
volunteers know first aid?
· Who will go for help if I need to attend to an
· Who will supervise other players if I need to
· Do my assistant coaches and players know the
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure. Prevent injuries in every way possible. Some important steps that can help you in
your injury prevention plan include the following:
· Emphasize proper skill development
· Inspect practice and game fields (e.g.
holes, sprinkler heads, other hazardous objects)
· Teach your players sound conditioning habits
(including proper warm-up, stretching, cool down, and access to plenty of fresh water)
Common Soccer Injuries and their Care
Whenever a player is injured, be certain to inform
the parents or guardians of the injury, even if it seems minor and the athlete is able to
continue with the practice or game.
Preventing disease transmission
Place an effective barrier between you and the
victims blood when you give first aid. Examples of such barriers are: the
victims hand, a piece of plastic wrap, clean folded cloth, rubber or latex gloves.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
immediately after providing care.
· Have athlete rest in a cool place.
· Give cool water.
· Stretch muscle and massage area.
Heat exhaustion - Players skin will appear pale
and clammy, perspiration is profuse, may experience nausea, weakness, dizziness, headache,
· Have athlete lie down in a cool place with feet
elevated 8 to 12 inches.
· Give cool water.
· Loosen tight clothing.
· Remove clothing soaked with perspiration.
· Apply cool wet cloths (such as towels) or ice
packs (wrapped) to the skin.
· Call 911 if player refuses water, vomits or if
level of consciousness changes.
heat stroke - Player will appear hot, red, will not
be sweating (although skin may be wet from previous sweating), pulse will be rapid and
strong, body temperature will be high (105 oF
or more). This is an immediate and life-threatening emergency.
· Send someone to get emergency medical help (call
· Get the athlete out of the heat and into a cooler
· Cool the player fast - immerse in a cool bath, or
wrap with wet towels and fan him/her.
· Give nothing by mouth.
Preventing heat emergencies
· Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of
the day, if possible.
· Change the activity level according to the
· Take frequent breaks.
· Drink large amounts of fluid.
· Wear light-colored clothing, if possible.
An injury to an ankle can take the form of a sprain
or a break and may have different degrees of severity. Sprains are stretched or
torn tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels around joints.
FIRST AID: Assume the injury could be severe.
Immobilize the player (avoid any movement that causes
Begin the ICE routine (Ice, Compression, Elevation -
elevation helps slow the flow of blood, thus reducing swelling).
Have the player see a physician before returning to
DONT: Remove athletes shoe and
sock until ice is available.
Have the player try to "walk it off".
The knee is the most complicated joint in the body,
as well as the joint most frequently injured. It requires a specialist to treat knee
injuries properly. Your job is to limit further injury and to get the player to the
FIRST AID: Help the player off the field.
Apply ice to the injured area.
Elevate the leg without moving the knee, if possible
Take the player to the hospital immediately
DONT: Move the knee to examine the
Allow the player to get up and "walk it
Allow the knee to move freely.
Allow the athlete to continue participating until
he/she has seen a physician.
Dislocations and broken bones (fractures) are treated
similarly. A dislocation is a displacement of a bone end from the joint. Dislocated joints
will have pain, swelling, irregularity, or deformity over the injured area.
FIRST AID: Leave dislocated joint in
the position found.
Immobilize joint in the exact position it was in at the time of injury.
Apply ice and elevate to minimize swelling.
Have the player see a doctor immediately.
DONT: Attempt to relocate a
dislocation or correct any deformity near a joint (movement may cause further injury.
Assume the injury is minor.
Assume there is no broken bone.
Blisters typically appear as a raised bubble of skin
with fluid beneath; the fluid may be clear or bloody. The blister may be torn with new
skin exposed. Generally painful.
FIRST AID: Rub ice over the area.
Place small moleskin doughnut over the outside edges
of the blister and tape to prevent further friction.
If the blister is torn, wash area with soap and
water; put ointment over the blister and cover with a protective dressing.
DONT: Treat a blister lightly;
infection can result, causing serious problems.
Puncture blister - let a physician do so.
PREVENTATIVE STEPS: Properly fitting shoes and socks
Proper conditioning is necessary to allow the skin to
become accustomed to the activity load.
Wear two pairs of socks if friction is extremely bad.
In most cases, bleeding can be controlled by placing
direct pressure over the wound. To reduce risk of infection, whenever possible wear
latex gloves and wash hands before (and after) treating an open wound.
FIRST AID: Apply direct pressure to the
wound with a clean compress (use clothing if a clean compress is not available).
Elevate the wound above the level of the heart.
Keep the player lying down.
If bleeding is sufficient to soak through the
compress, apply additional as necessary directly over the others.
Call for emergency help if bleeding is severe or
DONT: Remove old compresses; this may
cause more bleeding.
Treat any bleeding lightly.
Let dirt get into the wound.
Panic. Call for help if you are unsure.
A bloody nose is a common occurrence following a blow
to the face, or in association with high blood pressure, infection, strenuous activity or
dry nasal passages. Although usually more annoying than serious, any bloody nose resulting
from an injury to the face should be considered as a potential fracture. If you suspect a
head, neck, or back injury, do not try to control a nosebleed; instead, keep the player
from moving and stabilize the head and neck.
FIRST AID: Place the player in a sitting
position leaning slightly forward.
Apply a cold compress to the athletes nose and
Apply direct pressure by having the player pinch the
nostrils with the fingers.
Take the athlete to the doctor if bleeding persists.
Nose bleeds (continued)
DONT: Allow the player to blow
his/her nose for several hours.
Stick anything up the nose to stop the bleeding
without the assistance of a medical professional or emergency personnel.
Lean head backwards (player may choke on blood
running down the throat).
HEAD AND NECK INJURIES
These injuries can be the most devastating of all
injuries. Permanent paralysis may result from any neck injury, so these injuries must
be handled with extreme care.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: Headache, dizziness.
Unconsciousness (immediate or delayed).
Tingling sensation or numbness in arms and/or legs.
Inability to move fingers, toes, or extremities.
Athlete not alert.
FIRST AID: Call for paramedic or other help
Make sure the athlete is able to breathe.
Keep the player still (stabilize head and neck as you
Maintain body temperature.
Call parents or guardian immediately.
Pass all important information on to doctors.
DONT: Move the athlete.
Leave the player unattended.
Overstep the limits of your knowledge GET HELP
Fractures come in a variety of forms and may occur
any place in the body where there is a bone. Remember, you are not a trained medical
professional qualified to handle these many different situations. Your job is to recognize
the injury (or possible injury) and to limit further injury.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: May have heard a
pop or snap, or received a direct blow to the area.
A closed fracture will have pain, swelling,
irregularity, or deformity over the injured area. An open fracture will have bone
FIRST AID: Leave fractured bone in the
Immobilize the joints above and below the suspected
Cover an open fracture wound with a large
clean dressing; control bleeding.
Apply ice to a closed fracture (not to an open
Transport the player to the hospital or call for an
ambulance if you are unsure about moving the player.
DONT: Attempt to straighten injured limb or
push back protruding bones.
Allow player to move the injured area.
Allow dirt into any injured area with protruding