Are you a Sports Trainer or Sports Physiotherapist?
It’s always important to refresh on the basic principles of emergency care when covering sports games. Make time to practice and role play scenarios with your medical team. It is important staff roles are clear and communication is clearer. When arriving at a sporting venue, it’s vital that a spinal board, collar, defib, and the emergency field access is identified.
Basic first aid principles do not differ on a sporting field. The DRSABCD Action Plan is a vital tool when assessing whether a player has a life-threatening condition and if any immediate first aid is necessary.
After DRSABCD has been performed the next step in the sporting setting is to assess and manage the injury. This starts on the field using the TOTAPS acronym.
The most serious injury considerations in the AFL setting often are unconscious/concussed players and spinal injuries.
Assume Cervical Spine injury
Recognise Airway compromise: Absent breathing, stridor, gurgling, paradoxical chest movements, cyanosis
Responds to Verbal stimulus
Responds to physical stimulus
DRSABCD- Life support
Clear cervical spine
Clearing the Cervical Spine Clinically (NEXUS)
No mid line cervical tenderness
No focal neurological deficit
No painful distracting injury
(Absence of intoxication)
Use of Cervical Spine Collars
Reviewed as per ARC Guidelines
Risk of harm minimal so still endorsed by AFL
No compromise of cervical vessels or respiration
Boundaries and clear communication with ambulance