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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Emergency Action Plan Part 2

As a continuation from last week we will continue with Emergency Action Plans to continue showing the importance of why all teams, clubs and organizations need to have an effective EAP.  I would like to thank Dr. David Geier, Mike Hopper, ATC and Stop Sports Injuries blog for their posts on EAPs as well in the last couple of weeks as some of the basis for this post will come from them.

Last week we discussed the three major roles that are needed to have an effective EAP, these make up the personnel portion based on Dr. Geier's components.  The second component is communication, both with each member of the EAP, parents, other teams and administrators.  We covered communication within the EAP last week so we will discuss communicating with parents and administrators.

Parent communication is so critical prior to competition, once an injury occurs and after an injury occurs.
Prior to the season starting or competitions inform your parents that you have an EAP, they do not need to know the details, just make them aware that if an injury does occur you have a detailed plan.  It is very important to let them know that the plan includes injury care and contacting EMS as it will help avoid multiple calls to dispatch.  During injury care, it becomes the job of the control person or additional members of the team staff to help calm the parents of the athlete.  Inform them of the degree of the injury, that they are being cared for and that EMS is on route.  This would be the same if you are travelling and the parents are not there, you need to contact them as soon as possible to advise them of the situation.  Post injury stay in contact with the parents to ensure that everyone is on the same page as to severity and rehabilitation of the injury.

When acting as the host for events, you should let the other team know of your EAP as there may be differences as to activating EMS and access to the facility compared to their home venue. When visiting ask the other team or facility these questions, you can not always be reliant on them having an EAP and there maybe the same differences as if they were the visiting team.

Whenever a major injury occurs especially in a school based setting, letting the administrators know can be vital.  In school settings the athletic director, principal and at times the school board must be made aware of the situation.  For minor sports, the club or organizing body will need to know the details of the incident.  In both cases it primarily will be about liability and insurance.  Depending on the insurance plan, there can be time frames for starting a claim and retrieving the information needed.  Usually it will involve paper work from the hospital which can take time to receive and insurance companies usually don't budge on their deadlines.

The third component is ensuring you have proper equipment to deal with emergency situations.  That equipment will vary depending on whether you are a coach, parent, or Athletic Therapist.  The most basic things that everyone in sport should have on the sidelines are:

  • Up to date medical information on all participants in your care including coaches
  • Face mask removal tool - football 
  • Rescue shears for removal of equipment
  • CPR mask & other Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves
  • Wound supplies - gauze and towels to stop flow of blood
  • ICE 
  • Triangle bandages
  • Splints 
  • AED - you may not have a portable one but knowing where it is located at the venue is extremely important

An AED can mean the difference between life and death in emergent situations involving the heart.  The rate of survival increases by 75% when and AED is used.  For every minute that an AED is not used the rate of survival drops by 7-10% and by 12 minutes without defibrillation the rate of survival is only 5%.  Having one on site during any sporting event is a major step towards proper injury management.

You never know what each day at the rink, field or gym will bring.  Hopefully everything goes off fine and no injuries occur, but at some point an injury will happen.  Emergent situations can range from a spinal injury, head injury or an open fracture.  You may have a medical situations such as heat stroke, allergic reactions or an athlete with diabetes who is either hypo or hypoglycemic.  Be it in a school setting, a club or team sport having a detailed documented EAP that fully defines the roles and actions of everyone involved is the critical step in ensuring athlete safety.  Having someone on hand as a first responder, be it a coach with first aid and CPR, an Athletic Therapist or an EMT, without the prior planning of what to do in that emergent situation, no matter what their skills are, the athlete's well being and safety has been put in jeopardy.

For more information on EAP's please contact us at or visit our website at

Resources used

Dr. David Geier - Why are Emergency Action Plans Critical for sports teams?
Mike Hopper, ATC - Sports Emergencies
Heart and Stroke Foundation - Public access to AEDs
Stop Sports Injuries - Why all sports teams should have an Emergency Action Plan

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