Safety Checklist For Sports Coach
By their very nature many sporting activities can present risks for those taking part unless they are carefully managed which is why a thorough risk assessment of the sport should be carried out first. At a professional level, this responsibility will usually be shared amongst several people from ground staff to management, to stadium managers and those responsible for organising travel. There will be club doctors and other medical staff too, such as physiotherapists etc.
However, for clubs and other sports organisations competing at a lower level, it is ultimately the coach who will bear the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring participant safety. And, whilst it’s inevitable that injuries are part and parcel of sport from time to time, it’s crucial that the chances of injuries or accidents occurring are minimised.
The Field of PlayBefore any sporting event takes place, one of the most important things for the coach to do is to check the field of play or the court or, if indoors, the arena or facility and make sure that there are no obstacles, obstructions or any kind of debris lying around. Bits of sharp wood, stones or rocks, loose tiles or flooring, holes and wet patches should be removed, cleared up or replaced – whichever is the most appropriate. All boundaries, lines etc. should be clearly marked and you should also ensure that all aspects of safety are extended to the players’ changing areas as well, particularly addressing common problems like wet and slippery floors which have been the cause of many a sports related injury.
Health and safety procedures should also cover those areas which are designated for spectators and other personnel and members of the public who will be attending the event but not actually taking part.
EquipmentMany sports require additional equipment, some of which will be used in the participation of the sport itself and there may be other additional safety equipment which might be worn by the athlete. The coach should check all the equipment thoroughly to ensure it is well maintained and that there is no damage or anything untoward which could injure or harm any of the participating athletes. All equipment should be the proper size and adhere to the regulations as set out by the sport’s governing body and each athlete should only use equipment that ‘fits’ their needs comfortably and correctly. For beginners, in particular, it is also usually the coach’s responsibility to ensure that all participants know how to use any equipment correctly and safely.
Things to Take With YouA coach should always have a first aid kit with them at all times which is kept fully stocked with an adequate supply of the correct medical equipment. Although some first aid supplies will be common to all sports, the first aid kit may have to be adapted depending on the sport in question. More importantly, the coach should know how to use all the contents of the first aid kit properly.
It is also the coach’s responsibility to ensure that an adequate supply of water and/or sports drinks is available. Now that mobile phones are an everyday part of our culture, a coach should always carry one as it could be extremely invaluable if, for example, they need to summon professional medical help or a hospital in an emergency.
Other Things to ConsiderBeyond the basics covered above, a coach may also need to consider things such as medical release forms for each participant and may also want to have emergency contact details for each of his/her squad members.
Ultimately, any participant in any kind of sport should be fully aware of the safety risks involved within their chosen sport and how they can best prevent accidents or injuries happening to them or, at least, minimise the risk and, whilst this would be true of most athletes, the coach also has a responsibility to ensure that the safety of the participants is continually reinforced so that all of the athletes under his supervision can enjoy their sport safely.