The ability to prevent and care for injuries has become almost a prerequisite for coaches and managers responsible for young athletes, but one has to wonder if everything is being done that can be.

People are becoming more and more aware that there’s so much that goes into coaching. Many times there are only one or two people running a team which results in a large workload. As a result, the entire issue of medical/safety considerations is an after thought for most coaches simply because they are over burdened with the other responsibilities such as phoning, scheduling, time keeping, practices and games, team equipment, team meetings, and so on.

To help coaches understand the importance of injury care and prevention we’ve listed a few of the basic essentials that all coaches must be aware of.

1) Know All You Can About Your Athletes Medical Background
Have you ever compiled medical history cards on athletes you coach? They can help answer many questions that you need to know. For example, what if someone was asthmatic, had an attack, and you didn’t know why it was happening? Have any of them broken any bones lately? Allergies? Diabetic?. These are just some of the things you can find out from a properly completed medical history form.

2) Always do Facility/Playing Field Safety Check Lists
When was the last time that you as a coach did a facility safety check prior to your athletes participating in an event? As a coach it is your responsibility to ensure a safe playing environment exists for those participants you are coaching. Does the outdoor field you are about to play on have exposed sprinkler heads, broken glass or gopher holes? Is the playing surface in the gymnasium too slippery and is there enough area between the court and the wall of the gym?

3) Following the Proper Order of Fitness Related Training Principles
What is the first thing that you as a coach should be concerned about when considering the development of your athlete(s)? Without a doubt it should be that they are pain free, without injury. The second, on through fifth order of importance is as follows: Flexibility, Strength, Endurance, and lastly the Skills of the Sport.

4) Develop A Sport Specific First Aid Kit.
One of the most commonly asked questions is what do I include in my sport first aid kit? Very simply the kit has to serve the needs of the sport and the individuals involved. It is also important to keep in mind the expertise or knowledge base of the individual who will be providing the prevention and treatment. If you don’t know how to tape an ankle then why keep taping supplies in your kit. Another thing to keep in mind is to try and think of everything that you could possibly ever need even if it doesn’t fit into the traditional thinking of what should be included in a kit. Just because an item doesn’t fit into a carrying case does not mean it shouldn’t be included. For example, a helicopter should be included in your list of medical supplies and equipment if you’re involved with downhill skiing.

5) Develop an Emergency Action Plan
Basically, this is preparing yourself for an emergency type situation. Do you check to see where the phone, first aid kit or hospital are located when you enter a new facility? Have you ever thought about what would happen if one of your players seriously hurt themselves and you were the only coach present at the time? What do you do? Do you leave the other children there? Do you take them along? Do you move the athlete? Where is the phone? Who’s in charge?

6) Know How to Care For Minor Injuries
Caring for the so-called minor injury is something that every coach should have some knowledge on. What to do in the event of injuries such as bruises, cuts, cramps, blisters, abrasions, nose bleeds, and so on should be second nature.

One way coaches can become educated on all the basics of injury care on prevention in sport is to attend a Sport First Aid and/or a Sport Taping course offered by the SMCS. Call 780-9446 or fax 780-9416 for more details