Belmont, Perth,

St John Ambulance urges clubs to take lead on sports injuries

St John Ambulance Western Australia urges sporting clubs to have volunteers and staff with first aid skills and always keep well-stocked first aid kits given more sports-related injuries occur during winter.Sports Injuries First Aid

In 2014, St John Ambulance treated 4,100 people who were injured taking part in sporting activities. On average, paramedics attended to more than 10 sports-related injuries a day, but in August and June the figure was much higher. The daily number of ambulance call outs peaked at 16 in August.

Most of these injuries, nearly 80 per cent, occurred in the metropolitan area and about one third of incidents were considered serious.

St John Metropolitan Ambulance Manager Angela Wright said the statistics highlighted the frequency of serious sports-related injuries and emphasised the need for coaches, managers and officials to complete first aid training.

“The number of ambulance call-outs for sports-related injuries is certainly very significant and reinforces the need for coaches and anyone involved with a sporting team to complete first aid training,” Ms Wright said.

“This applies to coaches and officials at all levels of sport, from the highest of experience to juniors.

“While it’s vital for coaches to have first aid skills, it’s equally important that players also mitigate the risk of serious injury. This includes always wearing the necessary protective equipment at training and during matches.”

The majority of injuries in junior sport occur in soccer, AFL, netball, basketball and hockey and this pattern is largely mirrored in senior sports.

Ms Wright also said paramedic intervention could often be avoided by allowing sufficient recovery time for chronic injuries.

“A significant number of call-outs are for the aggravation of existing or persistent injuries,” she said,

“In most instances, the need for treatment by a paramedic can be avoided by allowing the injury to completely heal before the participant returns to training or competition.”

St John recommends coaches, trainers and other key team members learn first aid, and regularly refresh their training, with a new sports injury first aid course now available through St John.

The course covers managing an unconscious casualty and treating injuries including those to the head, neck and spine. It also covers fractures, sprains and strains and basic wound care.

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