April 22, 2024

The importance of health and safety provision at UK sports venues | Pitchcare

Whether amateur or professional in nature, competitive sports can incur accidents and injuries, particularly in contact sports like football and rugby or fast-paced bat and ball sports like cricket.

Therefore, appropriate health and safety measures must be put in place to safeguard players’ physical health and the investments made in them. By speaking to industry experts and doing the desk research so you don’t have to, we have begun to explore the issues faced by sports people and how our e-Vehicles can better support them and their clubs’ health and safety provision.

When it comes to injuries, every second counts. Being well-prepared with an actionable plan could mean the difference between missing next week’s match or the rest of the season.

But, as we saw when former Bolton Wanderers star, Fabrice Muamba, collapsed during an FA Cup quarter-final in 2012, it could mean the difference between life and death. To that end, all FA-affiliated clubs are now expected to prepare for every medical eventuality:

Having been treated on-pitch by the club doctor with a defibrillator following his collapse, Muamba has called for a national defibrillator and CPR training scheme for all grassroots football clubs.

But cardiac arrest isn’t a football or player-specific emergency. Fans, too, have been saved by having defibrillators nearby. Earlier this year, Royal Dornoch Golf Club became the first golf club in the world to fit defibrillators to all its STAR EV Capella buggies, provided by Reesink Scotland.

The Scottish golf club already had defibrillators in the clubhouse and halfway house, but the new measures reflect growing concerns surrounding the provision of emergency treatment for players.

Royal Dornoch needed a mode of transport to get the defibrillators to the players as quickly as possible. Now, five speedy all-electric buggies are permanently kitted out with the defibs, ready to power into action if required.

While professional matches, like the Euro 2020 game between Denmark and Finland, which was temporarily suspended after Danish midfielder, Christian Eriksen, collapsed on the field and received treatment, have multiple medics on standby, lower league, amateur and youth divisions often don’t.

Experts agree that all teams, regardless of their size, should have a dedicated first aider who can address any injuries or sustain any major problems until an ambulance arrives.

First aiders act as powerful intermediaries between the injured player and professional healthcare; without them, lacerations, muscle tears, broken bones and worse are left to worsen while the player’s mind painstakingly counts down the seconds before help arrives.

Professionals we talked to suggested that grassroots football clubs should consider a range of criteria when it comes to first aid and cases of accident and emergency. This is because safety measures and emergency response plans ensure every player receives the best possible care, minimising the impact of accidental harm and potential complications that can occur.

In grassroots sports, for instance, it’s suggested one parent – preferably a coach or official, since they’ll be widely known to players – should have basic first aid training. But knowing one’s limits is essential. If a serious injury should occur, then first aiders should defer to professional medical help. Otherwise, the injury could be made worse.

Concussion, in particular, remains a controversial injury, having received significant media attention over the last few years. Contact sports like rugby are now taking drastic measures to improve health and safety regulation for players who take a knock to the head.

Several high-profile professional controversies and lawsuits have circled around concussion, with many now realising that this kind of head trauma can have life-changing consequences – not to mention the devastating phenomenon of second impact syndrome (SIS), which causes the brain to rapidly swell after a secondary impact that occurs before symptoms from the first concussion have subsided.

Concussion in sport, a 2021 report published by the UK Government examining the effects and perceptions of concussion in sport, states: ‘There is a tendency for the press to laud athletes who sustain injuries and drag themselves back onto the field of play […]. The reality is that, for most people playing sport, there is no one to stop them except themselves, their friends, teammates, and family.’

‘That is how far down the knowledge and awareness of concussion, and how to respond to it, must reach to ensure people seek the necessary help and treatment, rather than returning to the field to the detriment of their long-term health.’

Though not always welcomed by those players who have taken a knock to the head, medics recommend an immediate diagnostic test take place, removing sportspeople from the field.

The international Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) defines sports-related concussion, or SRC for short, as ‘a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces’, underscoring the serious nature of what might on the surface seem like a mere knock to the head.

All our professional contacts emphasised that, when serious injuries strike, all involved, especially those in authoritative roles (head coach, referee, match officials) should know what to do: call the emergency services on 999, a direct line that connects the club to local medical facilities.

Though it might sound straightforward, easy-to-follow guidelines and protocols can dramatically reduce response times, getting those in critical situations the help they need sooner.

Just like STAR EV provides the transport solution for getting defibs to golfers, the brand also offers an ambulance vehicle for getting all the equipment needed pitch-side quickly; whether that’s EMT-approved hand-carry gurneys or storage boxes for first-aid and medical supplies.

Tottenham Hotspur currently uses two STAR EV ambulances to safeguard the welfare of its men’s and women’s teams in training. Covering approximately 18 acres of turf, these electric ambulances are fully equipped to support the club’s medical personnel.

As the Premier League’s most sustainable club, it’s little surprise Tottenham opted to work with Reesink e-Vehicles. STAR EV ambulances are not only sustainable, they’re also quick and reliable – which is crucial for emergency equipment.

By pairing better safety provision with all-electric transport, the future of sport looks really promising – not only can we better safeguard the health of players, but also the planet.

Contact Reesink e-Vehicles for further information on 01480 226800.

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