It’s that time of year when many school sports are in full swing, along with minor hockey, basketball and many other activities.
 
Being trained in first aid and having the right tools and confidence to deal with a variety of sports related injuries is important for both coaches and parentsAs parents and coaches, we cheer on our athletes, encourage them to give their best effort, congratulate them on the wins and console them after tough losses. But there’s another important role we can play on the sidelines to keep the play fun and safe for all young athletes.
 
Being trained in first aid and having the right tools and confidence to deal with a variety of sports related injuries is important for both coaches and parents. Knowing what to do in the moment and when to seek further medical attention can make all the difference in how quickly a young person can recover and get back to their favourite sport.
 
Whether it’s a bloody nose, a sprained ankle, or something that can potentially be much more serious like a concussion or trouble breathing, training in first aid can help anyone feel much more confident in their ability to step in and help.
 
We asked Don Marentette, Director of First Aid Programs at Canadian Red Cross, what parents and coaches should have in their toolkit to deal with common injuries that can occur on the sports field or on the ice.
 
“It’s important to not only have a First Aid kit available, but to also go through it regularly to restock, and refresh your memory as to its contents. Participating in a course can increase your confidence to be able to tie a sling or apply a splint properly. Lastly, download our app to make sure you have that just in time information on what to do,” says Don Marentette.
 
A fully stocked first aid kit intended for a sports team should include items such as, gauze, tape, triangular bandages, nitrile gloves, instant cold packs, CPR mask. You can purchase a kit online at Shop Red Cross.
 
Here are 10 additional tips to keep in mind when you’re cheering on your team:
 
  1. Take note of where the nearest AED can be found in the sports facility or school. It could save an athlete or a spectator’s life in a cardiac arrest. Also, making sure you know your exact location ahead of time can save important minutes when talking to dispatch during an emergency.
  2. Make sure kids who have severe allergies or who suffer from asthma bring their Epipen and inhalers to their games and practice sessions.
  3. Be cautious around head injuries. Don’t let kids go back on the field to play if they have a blow to the head and/or are exhibiting concussion symptoms such as head ache, dizziness, loss of consciousness. Seek medical advice.
  4. Encourage kids to warm up before jumping into action and to stretch slowly at the end of the game.
  5. Insist young athletes wear all the safety gear recommended for the sport and check that it’s in good condition and fits properly. Replace any cracked or damaged safety equipment right away.
  6. Promote proper hydration and nutrition before and after the game. That advice goes for fans, too!   
  7. Don’t push kids to play through injuries. Listen to what they are saying about how their body is feeling.
  8. Be a role model when you’re on the sidelines. Fair play and respect go hand in hand with a positive experience in sports at all levels.
  9. Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety and depression. Sports should be fun! It’s just as important to take action to support a young person’s mental health as it is their physical well-being. Our Psychological First Aid training can give you a good foundation, tips on recognizing stress early and self-care strategies.  
  10. Download our free first aid app available in the Apple and Google Play stores that features handy tips for dealing with a wide range of medical emergencies. Get it before the next big game!