Recommended First Aid Courses for Sport

Recommended First Aid Courses For Sport

When it comes to the crunch, opening up a sports first aid kit and using it with confidence is crucial. When someone is injured, if they’re not responding, or if they’re losing lots of blood, knowing your way around a first aid kit and how to use it could save their life.

We know that sports enthusiasts always take their safety and that of their teams seriously. Read on to find out about the best sports first aid courses you can attend.

Who should attend a sports first aid course?

Coach performs First Aid to Injured Player

Anyone who plays sports should have the opportunity to take a sports injury first aid course to protect themselves from harm. Sports first aid courses are not only a good opportunity to keep yourself safe, but promote good teamwork and help people to feel more confident about assisting someone else if they need first aid.

But sports coaches have a particular responsibility towards their players to keep them safe and help them in an emergence. Sports coaches in the UK have to follow an ethical code of conduct to protect their players from harm at all times. This is particularly important if you’re a coach or trainer of children. In a recent study, the Royal Society of Medicine found that 50% of all sports-related trips to A&E are taken by injured children.

In a study published by the British Medical Journal, 60% of officials responsible for youth football clubs were found not to have the necessary first aid qualifications and training. So it’s important that all coaches and trainers take responsibility for the safety of their teams with proper training.

Duty of Care

But there’s also a legal side to sports first aid and responsibilities that come with it. The Duty of Care Review published in 2017 reviewed the way care is approached in different sports. It determined that everyone involved in sports has a duty of care to take reasonable measures to keep themselves and others safe from harm. This includes not just coaches and trainers but team captains, managers, and participants.

Some of the recommendations raised in the review were specifically about sports first aid training:

  • “Develop a standard first aid course specifically for sport.
  • NGBs to provide and promote online access to basic first aid guidance (which should include CPR and concussion protocols).
  • Consideration should be given to the development of a training module including content about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) symptoms.
  • All contact sports to consider pre-season concussion awareness courses.”

The review states that, fundamentally, a basic level of first aid awareness is the most crucial skill that sports participants need. This would be knowing what immediate action to take which could involve calling for help and checking vital signs as well as an understanding of the risks associated with the sport.

Training should be easy to access and tailored where possible to the audience. Some national governing bodies (NGBs) provide first aid courses tailored to the specific risks of their sports. It also recommends Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance as authoritative sources of first aid training.

What should be covered in sports first aid training courses?

A sports first aid course must cover basic first aid training at a minimum, including:

  • CPR for adults and children
  • Head injuries
  • Shock
  • Bone, muscle, and joint injuries
  • Chest pains
  • Unresponsiveness in adults and children
  • Major and minor bleeding
  • Extremes of hot and cold
  • Primary survey
  • Communication with a casualty and treating a casualty outdoors


Cyclist Cycling in Race

National Governing Body: British Cycling

First Aid Qualification Requirements

  • Coaches and trainers must hold a valid first-aid certificate to be insured under British Cycling.
  • The certificate must be in date and refresher courses are encouraged to reduce skill fade. British Cycling recommends certificates be renewed every year.
  • Mountain bike trainers must hold a valid certificate for a two-day outdoor first aid with content relevant to managing a casualty outdoors.

A cycling first aid course should cover:

  • The role of the first aid provider.
  • Unconscious casualties.
  • CPR.
  • Handling wounds and bleeding.
  • Choking.
  • Minor injuries like cuts, road rash, burns, splinters, etc.


National Governing Body: The Football Association

First Aid Qualification Requirements

Level 1 coaches must attend a FA Emergency Aid class during their training to become qualified as a coach. In addition, they must complete a standard sports first aid course and read the FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document, sending an acknowledgement to their governing county FA.

The FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document is designed to further build on the teachings of a sports first aid course with football relevant first aid.

The Football Association offers its own football first aid course which is suitable for anyone of any level seeking to develop their knowledge and skills in football medical care of both adult players and juniors.

The course covers the following with an introduction and assessment at the end:

  • The A-E Approach (to check vital signs and signs of danger)
  • CPR
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Concussion


Rugby Ball

National Governing Body: England Rugby/Rugby Football League

First Aid Qualification Requirements

Rugby Union:

England Rugby outlines pitchside first aid for rugby players, specifying that all clubs should appoint an emergency first aider (EFA) who is responsible for first aid provision for the club. The EFA should be qualified and their first aid qualification kept up to date.

Rugby Union recommends the Emergency First Aid in Rugby Union (EFARU) Course which is developed specifically with risks of rugby in mind. EFAs and other relevant personnel must also attend the HEADCASE Concussion Awareness Course.

Rugby League:

Rugby Football League first aid guidance outlines all the requirements for safe rugby play in great detail. It states that a risk assessment of the club will determine who and how many trained first aiders are required.

The guidance also recommends that “the Club (or other body) who runs clubs or organised matches which in practice usually means the Management Committee, is responsible for ensuring that any first aiders are appropriately trained and keep up to date with refresher courses as recommended by the qualification body.”

Rugby Football League recommends the following first aid courses, particularly the first one which is run by the Football Association and is designed specifically for sports environments.

  • Basic First Aid for Sport (BFAS)
  • HSE First Aid at Work
  • St John Ambulance Activity First Aid Course
  • The Red Cross First Aid for Sports Course


National Governing Body: British Basketball Federation

First Aid Qualification Requirements

The British Basketball Federation’s first aid FAQs outline requirements and guidance for basketball teams. While not all players and participants need first aid training, each team should have one appointed first aider.

When it comes to first aid training, the NGB says “We don’t expect you to have the knowledge of paramedics or a physiotherapist when it comes to first aid within basketball. We look for people to have a basic knowledge of first aid that can assist when injuries/accidents do occur during a game so there is no need to look for in-depth courses (unless this is something you wish to do) but courses that provide you with a basic understanding and give you the basic skills to apply first aid will be sufficient.” It specifically recommends:

  • St John Ambulance Basic First Aid for Sport Course
  • Red Cross Standard Certificate in First Aid Course


National Governing Body: The British Boxing Board of Control

First Aid Qualification Requirements

Boxing coaches, cutmen, and cornermen should be trained in first aid skills to deal with life-threatening emergencies such as cardiac arrest, injuries to the head and neck, concussion, and bleeding.

The British Board of Boxing requires all licensed trainers and seconds in professional boxing to undergo the British Boxing Board of Control First Aid Course. England Boxing, the NGB of boxing for England recommends in its boxing first aid guidance that Level 1 coaches must take a refresher first aid course for sports coaches every three years.


Cricket Player

National Governing Body: England & Wales Cricket Board

First Aid Qualification Requirements

According to the England and Wales Cricket Board, it is a requirement of cricket coaches to attain an emergency first aid certificate as part of their cricket coach training.

While the England and Wales Cricket Board doesn’t offer a specific cricket first aid sports injuries course, Complete Cricket, together with the English & Welsh Cricket Board and The Swimming Teachers Association developed the Cricket Coach First Aid Appointed Person Award (CCFAAP) which teaches the appointed first aider how to take charge and deal with an emergency situation.

The course covers:

  • CPR
  • Dealing with an unconscious person
  • Dealing with a wounded person
  • What to do in an emergency
  • First aid equipment
  • Risk assessments for first aid provisions


National Governing Body: England Hockey

First Aid Qualification Requirements

England Hockey states that “Every club must assess their own need for First Aid provision. England Hockey strongly recommends that there is a minimum of one First Aid trained person per match or training session.” The risk assessment should include where the play takes place, how many people need to be trained in first aid and whether facilities have first aid provisions.

As for the type of sports trauma first aid course, England Hockey recommends a certified emergency first aid course of a minimum of three hours duration that covers how to handle cardiac arrest and a refresher course every three years. The St John Ambulance Activity First Aid Course or Red Cross Standard Certificate in First Aid Course would be sufficient.


National Governing Body: England Netball

First Aid Qualification Requirements

Netball coaches are required to attain First Aid and Safeguarding certificates in order to pass their training and become licensed. The first aid course must be a ‘first aid at work course’, or the emergency first aid at work course at Level 3 standard delivered by St John’s Ambulance or The British Red Cross, that are OFQUAL regulated, or FAIB endorsed.

Safeguarding courses must be delivered by a body that is endorsed by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). A list of CIMSPA-endorsed safeguarding courses can be browsed on the CIMSPA website.

Sports Therapy

National Governing Body: BASRaT

First Aid Qualification Requirements

When it comes to sports first aid courses for physiotherapists, requirements and qualifications differ greatly depending on the discipline, sport, service, and level of expertise. One thing that is emphasised by BASRaT is continued professional development. This is defined as anything necessary to constantly enhance a professional’s competence, knowledge, and skills to improve their clinical ability.

Continued Professional Development

Injury Rehab Network Event at Steroplast

It’s important to make sure your first aid knowledge and skills are always up to date so you can provide the very best care. This is why many national governing bodies recommend refresher courses every three years.

Involving yourself in a network of similarly minded individuals is the best way to know your first aid is as robust as possible. That’s why we run the Injury Rehab Network (IRN). The IRN is a network of sports rehabilitation specialists, experts, professionals, and others who are interested in learning more about sports injury rehab.

The network welcomes guest speakers to share their ground-breaking knowledge and experience in providing injury support in sports to present and discuss topics with anyone who wants to learn more. Find out about the Injury Rehab Network, how to join, and see upcoming events.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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