What are the FA recommendations for a football first aid kit?

Everything You Need to Know About First Aid for Football Coaches

While the most common injuries in football involve hernias, sprains and tears, the nature of the game means coaches at the grassroots level have to be prepared for any type of injury. Whether they’re dealing with lacerations, eye injuries or concussion, coaches need to know how to administer basic first aid on the pitch. The cardiac arrest suffered by Tottenham star Fabrice Muamba also highlighted the need for coaches to be prepared for life-threatening situations. To that end, all FA-affiliated clubs are expected to prepare for every medical eventuality.

What should a club’s first aid contain?

Every football fan has witnessed the use of the ‘magic sponge’ or ‘magic spray’, but there is a great deal more in the treatment bag of a club physio. The idea behind sponges and sprays involves cooling and numbing an injury – allowing the player to carry on. While this has a limited effect for minor knocks and bruises, there will be times when more sophisticated care is required. Every first aid kit should contain some essential items.

  • A towel for soaking up blood
  • A range of sterile bandages – both absorbent and non-absorbent. They should include a range of different sizes, at least one triangular bandage and an eye pad.
  • Some ‘underwrap’ for reducing friction caused by strapping and bandages
  • Petroleum jelly for temporarily sealing wounds and stopping the flow of blood
  • Medical gloves
  • Water
  • Cotton buds for applying petroleum jelly to wounds and soaking up blood from nose bleeds
  • An airway to help players breathe if they’ve been knocked unconscious
  • Micro-porous tape
  • Safety pins
  • A cold pack
  • Eye wash
  • Clinical waste bags
  • Foil survival blanket
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Waterproof plasters
  • Scissors

In addition to these essential items, some physios and first aid-trained coaches will carry drinks, vapour rub, smelling salts, spare contact lenses and ice.
First aid kit with FA recommended contents can be found in our Football First Aid Department 

What first aid training must football coaches undertake?

The rules pertaining to first aid training changed in September 2014. All new ‘Level 1’ coaches are now required to attend a FA Emergency Aid class during their first coaching course. This training is designed to complement a standard first aid qualification – covering injuries and scenarios specific to football. Coaches who hold a valid first aid certificate from an external body (such as St. John’s Ambulance or the British Red Cross) will not have to attend FA Emergency Aid training during subsequent coaching courses. However, there is a mandatory requirement to read the FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document, and to send an acknowledgement to the governing County FA.

Clubs adhering to FA Charter Standard requirements will need to demonstrate that coaches have adequate first aid training. A non-FA qualification will be deemed as acceptable, but it must be from a body that is on the FA’s list of approved training providers. However, the county FA will still need a signed copy of the FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document – the same applies to applications to join the FA Licensed Coaches’ Club. Medical professionals, armed forces personnel and emergency services workers are exempt from attending the FA Emergency Aid Course.

What is the FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document?

The FA Emergency Aid Bridging Document is designed to build on the knowledge provided by a generic first aid course. It contains information and guidance on how to treat certain conditions that are likely to occur on the field of play or the training pitch. It details some serious conditions, and how to administer emergency medical treatment until a doctor or paramedic arrives.

The document covers the following situations:

  • Serious fractures
  • Spinal injuries
  • Serious wounds
  • Asthma attacks
  • Head wounds
  • Concussion
  • How to deal with an emergency situation

It’s important to remember that the document is designed to complement formal first aid training, as it covers the medical emergencies that are most likely to occur on a football pitch.

Rather than view first aid training as merely a prerequisite for FA affiliation or Charter Standard status, it’s important that coaches and players alike are aware that the ability to deal with emergency medical situations could save a life one day. 

More information can be found here FA First Aid Courses