The Best Football First Aid Courses Recommended by Experts – Courses your coaches should be taking and why

Football Game Players Running Round Pitch

Football is a high energy sport involving contact between players and can result in injuries. Having a qualified first aider on hand during all training and games is essential to keeping players safe. Coaches, parents, and sports support staff can attend football first aid courses online or in-person to become fully qualified as a football first aider in case of emergency,

Most first aid training certificates are valid for a maximum of three years. It’s important to refresh your training regularly in order to stay up to date with any changes to treatment procedures or new safety measures. For example, the NHS regularly updates information and changes to recommended CPR procedures when providing first aid. Medicine is evolving all the time so it’s necessary to make sure you know what might have changed since your last first aid course.

A qualified first aider is trained to respond to an emergency in the first instance with the intention always to protect and preserve life as quickly as possible. While it’s important to have up to date, accurate training in emergency first aid in order to treat a player, having access to a football first aid kit with the correct contents could improve the chances of recovery from injury and even survival rates.

Football teams and clubs at every level of the game should have football first aid kits and qualified first aiders available to handle any injury or medical emergency that could take place on the pitch.

Injured Footballer

First Aid Training Requirements for Coaches

Most coaches will have a good idea of how to treat common football injuries, but attending a football first aid course is essential in being prepared to deal with any eventuality during a football game or training session. It’s possible to prevent football injuries through good practice, as discussed on our blog. Many players tape their wrists to avoid further injury during a game, while a good warm-up and cool-down can help to prevent muscle strain or more serious injuries. However, medical emergencies that require first aid treatment can still strike at any time, so it’s essential that you have a qualified first aider on hand.

So what are the first aid training requirements for coaches?

Covering the basics is essential in reducing harm from injury and even saving a life. Any coach should have the confidence to provide first aid for their players at any time. Where this is not possible, coaches should ensure that an alternate adult is in attendance and fully qualified in first aid.

Below are some crucial things coaches or first aiders should be qualified in with regards to football first aid

  • Assessing and treating concussion and head injuries—see FA provides Concussion Guidelines.
  • Recognising injury or illness in a football player.
  • Performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) while being COVID-19 safe.
  • Recognising when a player is experiencing difficulty breathing.
  • Recognising the signs and symptoms of life-threatening conditions.
  • Assessing potential first aid initial management when required.
  • Pitch-side treatment of sprains, strains, or potential breaks and fractures.

Coach Talking to Team on Pitch

The Best First Aid Courses for Football Coaches

There is a huge range of football first aid courses available, so how do you choose the best one to protect your football players? We take a look at the best, nationally recognised courses available for you. The FA Emergency First Aid Bridging Document states that “football specific courses focus on injuries or illnesses that are a risk to life or limb within football” so it’s a good idea to take a course focusing on football or sports first aid.

FA Football First Aid Courses

The UK National Governing Body for football, the FA, offers a range of football first aid courses at varying levels dependent on your team’s needs. Most professional football coaches follow the FA Medical Pathway to gain qualifications at necessary levels of expertise.

This course covers the essentials of emergency football first aid. Cover all the basics online at your own pace online to be prepared for a football emergency. Suitable for a range of people including football coaches, managers, teachers, parents, and pitch-side volunteers.

Both courses offer more advanced training in football first aid. Level 2 covers areas including the treatment of conscious and unconscious players, wound treatment and prevention of long-term limb injuries. Level 3 expands on this knowledge further and trains first aiders in assisting medical professionals safely.

Depending on the needs of your team, training schedule, and level of competition, additional courses in trauma medical management and accreditation are available in Levels 4 and 5 of the FA course offerings.

St Johns Ambulance Sports First Aid Course

St Johns Ambulance is a nationally recognised organisation providing trusted guidance and training in all areas of first aid across the UK.

Developed to enable first aiders to assess and treat the majority of common sports injuries, the course covers CPR procedures; muscle, joint, and bone injuries; head injuries; minor or severe breathing difficulties; unresponsive adult or child casualties; treatment of shock; chest pains; and the role of a sports first aider.

Red Cross First Aid for Sports Course

The British Red Cross provides support, training, and care across the UK. The National Coaching Foundation recommends this course for people involved in sporting activities who may need to provide basic first aid.

Developed to support first aiders in the sports field, the one day course covers first aid practices that could arise on the football pitch. The course includes training on treatment of breathing issues, unresponsive casualties, bleeding and wounds, choking, burns, sufferers of shock, muscle or joint injuries, seizures, and CPR.

Additional Courses

While first aid courses for football coaches or appointed first aiders pitch-side are always essential, the requirements of your team or club could be broader. There are many additional courses available for professionals working in a range of areas.

Here are six sports roles that could require further medical training:

  1. sports therapy
  2. rehab
  3. physio roles
  4. medical
  5. emergency care
  6. trauma

The FA offers a wide range of additional courses for sports professionals who might need to treat injury or illness.

Sports Taping

For sports therapists and physios who look after footballers, further training in preventative and protective measures such as Sports Taping and Kinesiology Taping could be helpful in reducing the risk of further injury.

We cover the different types of sports tapes and their uses in our blog. Sterosport offers online courses in sports taping and kinesiology taping that cover everything sports professionals need to know about effective and safe taping techniques. These taping skills can protect existing injuries from further damage during football training or competitive matches.

Support for Football Coaches

If you’re unsure of what your football team or club might need with regards to first aid and further medical training, Sterosport offers support and expert guidance through the Level Two Partnership scheme. A qualified Sterosport account manager can give advice on risk assessments, and on the kinds of equipment and resources your team needs, as well as provide access to the Injury Rehab Network.

The FA Emergency First Aid Bridging Document

While it’s important to assign a qualified first aider pitchside during training or competitive matches, the training provided on generic sports and football first aid courses should always be complemented by the FA Emergency First Aid Bridging Document. All coaches and football first aiders should be familiar with this document.

The document contains detailed information and guidance on how to treat casualties in the following situations:

  • The jaw thrust as an airway opening technique for a contact sport such as football
  • Manual in-line stabilisation of the head and neck
  • Sudden cardiac arrest in football
  • Concussion management in football—The FA concussion guidelines
  • The Asthmatic footballer
  • Dispelling the myths of first aid in football
  • Emergency action planning for football
  • The football specific first aid kit, the role of the first aider in football, and record-keeping

The resource also provides example documents including a Medical Emergency Action Plan, Medical Consent Forms, Player Injury Report Forms, and covers due diligence that clubs are responsible for.

The FA Emergency First Aid Bridging Document is an essential additional resource to use when treating the most common life or limb-threatening medical emergencies that could arise when playing football. The FA stipulates that it “should complement the training you have already undertaken. It is not a substitute for appropriate first aid training and does not sanction first aid management in any area where competency has not been established.”

It’s critical that in any setting where football is taking place, coaches or assigned first aiders are qualified in first aid and familiar with the FA Emergency First Aid Bridging Document in order to treat an injury and be able to save a life if required. All qualifying football coaches are required to read the document and send a formal acknowledgement of their completion of reading it to their regional FA Office.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the FA has also published COVID-19 First Aid Guidance in order to promote caution and safety for both casualties and first responders and reduce the risk of viral transmission.

Sterosport Injury Rehab Network

Injury Rehab Network Event at Steroplast

Through a partnership with Sterosport, you can access their Injury Rehab Network and its many benefits. The network is a source of continuous professional development for football coaches, players, trainers, medics, and physiotherapists. Taking care of your players and preventing long term injury takes more than providing a fully stocked first aid kit and assigning a first aider.

The Sterosport Injury Rehab Network’s approach optimises fast recovery. By combining the skills and expertise of real-world sports professionals and sports rehabilitators, being a member of the network will improve your knowledge and help to prevent the risk of life-long injury for your players, going beyond knowledge gained on football first aid courses.

Goals and Approaches

  • Collaboration and growth
  • Proactive learning culture
  • Sharing best practice
  • Fostering innovation
  • Building an evidence base
  • Research to understand needs and pool insights into trends
  • Developing solutions to prevent injuries to help more people to move more


All events are live-streamed allowing for access across the UK and are free to attend for all Sterosport Partners. The events offer presentations from world-class, expert guest speakers, discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. They are designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge where attendees can discover new ways to support those playing sports and those treating injuries.

If you still have questions about the Injury Rehab Network, contact Andrew Watson on andrew@steroplast.co.uk or call 0161 902 3030.

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