Whether it’s ‘jumpers for goalposts’ or something more organised, millions of us are playing football each week.
Most of the time, it’s simply a great way to get fit and have fun in the process. But anyone who has played any significant amount of football will have seen injuries occur.
Usually these injuries are relatively minor: things like pulled muscles, bumps and bruises. But sometimes, they can be a lot more serious than this, and it’s surprising how few of us are prepared for that situation.
Do you Know What to do in a First Aid Emergency?
Football should be fun, first a foremost. If you spent all your time dwelling on what might go wrong then you’d probably never leave the house, let alone play football.
But have you ever considered whether you’re ready to deal with a first aid emergency? For many of us, it’s easier – more convenient, even – to assume that someone else is going to deal with whatever comes up. That’s a dangerous assumption to make, especially when you’re dealing with a serious incident.
Thankfully, the British Red Cross have launched an #UpYourGame campaign, encouraging footballers to learn essential life saving first aid skills.
Consider a situation, where a competitive game of 5-a-side suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Watch this short video and ask yourself when the player gets injured: what would I do?
If you didn’t know what to do at first then you’re not alone. New research revealed by the British Red Cross shows that 89% of footballers think sportspeople have a responsibility to look after each other, yet almost half (43%) would not have the confidence to help their teammates in a first aid emergency.
Can you #UpYourGame When it Comes to First Aid?
The British Red Cross is calling on football players, clubs and coaches to learn the essential skills needed to act in an emergency.
The call comes as part of the charity’s #UpYourGame campaign which hopes to encourage an increasingly active British public to learn first aid.
One of the startling findings from their survey was the sizeable gap between footballers who have learnt first aid and those who haven’t. Of those who had learnt first aid, 65% reported that they would feel confident and willing to help in a first aid emergency, yet this figure dropped to only 28% when players had not learnt first aid.
You might question whether you’d even want the ‘unqualified’ 28% to start trying to help you – although some help is better than none at all.
How to Improve your First Aid Knowledge and Confidence
Sir Trevor Brooking CBE, former West Ham and England player and current Director of Football Development in England who recently learnt first aid with the Red Cross, and is a supporter of the campaign said: “If someone is injured it’s always better to be prepared and have the confidence to act. Learning first aid with the British Red Cross gives you basic skills that can have a real impact. Having learnt first aid it’s really made me realise how important it is to know what to do when any injury happens.”
Sir Trevor Brooking CBE, learning first aid.
So, where do you go to learn this stuff? The British Red Cross’ Sports First Aid website has lots of free resources that can help. There’s video case studies, a free downloadable first aid guide and even an app with videos and quizzes.
What’s more, the British Red Cross also offer first aid courses which will take you into a greater level of depth and provide you with the chance to practice your knowledge under expert supervision. You can also find them on the website mentioned in the previous paragraph.
We Back the #UpYourGame campaign
As a player I’ve played in hundreds of games over the years, and only in a handful of situations have I ever seen a severe case that needed urgent medical attention. It’s something you hope that will never happen, but the reality is that it just might.
As a qualified football coach, one of the requisites is that you must attend an FA First Aid course, which takes you through the basics of how to deal with various incidents: players not breathing, strokes, and broken bones, for example.
It is vital knowledge that shouldn’t just be held by coaches. Players should have this as well.
As a player I’ve witnessed people step in and provide first aid in situations that I consider nothing short of heroic.
Each time I step out on to the pitch I want to think that if something serious happens to me, then somebody will know what to do and will take the necessary action to help.
That’s something most of us implicitly expect, but the British Red Cross’ survey figures confirm that it’s not necessarily something we’re all in a position to provide! Football has a serious side and this is it. When we’re talking about each of our health, and even our lives, that’s something that I believe we all, as a football community, really have to step up our game for.
Make it your mission to #UpYourGame today.
For more information and ways to improve your first aid knowledge, visit the British Red Cross’ Sports First Aid website.