The AFL expects that football matches at all levels will be played in good quality environments and the safety of participants is central to that environment.
Sports trainers and first aiders have been part of Australian Football since the origins of the game. They are part of the fabric of every club and play a key role in player preparation and safety at all levels.
In community Australian Football clubs, first aid is usually provided by sports trainers or by other volunteers with medical or higher level allied health (e.g. nursing, physiotherapy, occupational health & safety) qualifications and experience. Sports trainers are likely to play a more major role when there is no-one else with medical or allied health qualifications at a game or training. It is important that sports trainers, and others, are well trained in the first aid needs specifically relevant to Australian Football at the level at which they are involved (e.g. Auskick, juniors, youth, seniors, females, talent pathway, AFL clubs, veterans etc).
The Australian Football League (AFL) believes that planning and practicing what to do when an emergency occurs is an essential part of risk management. All football leagues and clubs must be conversant with first aid procedures and able to deal with emergencies so participants are well cared for. All leagues and clubs should ensure that:
The Australian Football League (AFL) endorses the following training structure to support football associations, clubs, teams and volunteers to build their capacity to meet the minimum requirements of the Australian Football League Management of Injuries and Medical Emergencies in Community Australian Football Policy.
The Emergency Response Coordinator (ERC) is particularly targeted to junior football clubs that may not have a qualified Level 1 sports trainer able to attend games.
The course is well suited for someone who is considering becoming a level 1 sports trainer but currently cannot commit to two full days of training. It covers the following areas and take approximately 3 hours:
Note: A current nationally accredited First Aid Certificate is prerequisite for the ERC Course. This must include assessed competencies HLTFA311a (Apply First Aid) or HLTFA211A (Provide Emergency Life Support).
All participants who successfully complete this training will have the minimum competencies required to fulfill the role of an Emergency Response Coordinator at an Australian Football event. This includes the minimum competencies in emergency management procedures and responses, and the assessment and immediate management of severe injuries and life threatening medical emergencies required by at least one person in attendance at all games and training.
As of season 2013 the AFL will be mandating that the above qualification will be the minimum competency an individual must hold to officiate as a sports trainer at AFL games.
Most leagues or regions conduct or have access to courses for trainers conducted by Sports Medicine Australia or other accredited providers.
For more information contact your AFL State office or local league.
Management of Concussion: Coaches have a duty of care when players receive a knock to the head so learn how to identify and manage concussive injuries.
Helmets & Mouthguards: The AFL has released a position statement on the role of helmets and mouthguards in Australian Football.
Stretchers and Cervical Collars: Following recent discussion about the management of a player with concussion or a neck injury, we have had some enquiries regarding the recommended type of stretcher and neck brace for clubs to have at their disposal on match day.
Head and Neck Injury: The most important principle in managing a player who has received a forceful contact to the head is that until it can be cleared the trainer should always assume that the player’s neck may have been injured.
Is your First Aid Kit Ready for the Season?: Lists the contents of a well stocked first aid kit for community football.
Musculoskeletal Screening for Australian Football: Find out about the musculoskeletal (MSK) screening program that identifies risk factors for injury in junior and senior football players.
Growth Related Injuries in Junior Footballers: Practical overview of the reasons and types of injuries suffered by juniors playing sport.
Managing Basic Injuries: Decide when to use heat or ice, understand shin splints, know when to return to play after a muscle injury, and more.
Soft Tissue Injuries: The ins and outs of soft tissue injuries and an explanation of the immediate injury management technique, RICER.
Soft Tissue Rehabilitation: Overview on the four phases of managing soft tissue injuries.
Hamstring Strains: A guide to the three grades of hamstring injuries, how to manage them when they first happen and diagnosis and treatment.